Bernie Carlson is Chair and Professor in the Department of Engineering and Society at the University of Virginia and he holds a joint appointment with the History Department. He received his Ph.D. in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984 and did his postdoctoral work in business history at the Harvard Business School.
Bernie is an expert on the role of innovation in American history, and his research focuses on how inventors, engineers, and managers used technology to create new systems and enterprises between 1875 and 1925. His publications include Innovation as a Social Process: Elihu Thomson and the Rise of General Electric, 1870-1900 (Cambridge University Press, 1991; paper 2002) as well as Technology in World History, 7 volumes (Oxford University Press, 2005). In 2008, Technology in World History was awarded the Sally Hacker Prize from the Society for the History of Technology as the best book aimed at a broad audience. It has since been translated into Korean. With support from the Sloan Foundation, he has completed a biography of another electrical inventor Nikola Tesla. Titled Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age, this book was published by Princeton University Press in April 2013.
In addition to his publications, Bernie just completed filming 36 lectures for The Teaching Company on "Inventions that Changed the World." These lectures will be released on DVD in August 2013.
Bernie directs the Engineering Business Programs at UVa and he teaches a course on “Engineers as Entrepreneurs.” For over a decade, he was a consultant on history and knowledge management to Corning Incorporated and has served on the governing boards of several professional groups related to history, business, and engineering, including the IEEE History Committee and the Business History Conference. He is currently serving as the Executive Secretary for the Society for the History of Technology.