Mody, CCM (Cyrus)

Prof. Mody is an historian of recent science and technology, specifically the applied physical sciences in the United States since 1965.  He studies the commercialization of academic research, the longue durée of responsible research and innovation (RRI), and the technopolitics of scarcity in the long 1970s.

For 2020-2025, Prof. Mody is the principal investigator for an NWO (Netherland Organisation for Scientific Research) Vici grant, "Managing Scarcity and Sustainability: The Oil Industry, Environmentalism, and Alternative Energy in the Age of Scarcity." Other team members are Odinn Melsted (postdoc), Michiel Bron (PhD candidate, oil and nuclear energy project), and Jelena Stankovic (PhD candidate, oil and solar energy project).

In parallel, Prof. Mody is a co-PI in the ERC Synergy grant "Nanobubbles" along with colleagues @_Nano_Bubbles . This project seeks to understand why the scientific record is so difficult to correct and how scientists are able to ignore contradictory evidence. The aim is to foster a healthier scientific dialogue in which contradictory evidence can be debated and errors corrected without fear of repercussions.

Here you can find Prof. Mody's CV.


History and sociology of recent science and technology.

Focus on histories of: applied physics and engineering science; commercialization of academic research; microelectronics; university-industry-government partnerships; countercultural science and responsible innovation; energy humanities.

Career History

Associate Professor, Department of History, Rice University, 2014-2015

Assistant Professor, Department of History, Rice University, 2007-2014

Program Manager, Nanotechnology and Innovation Studies, Center for Contemporary History and Policy, Chemical Heritage Foundation, 2005-2007

Ph.D., Cornell University, in Science and Technology Studies, August 2004

M.A., Cornell University, in Science and Technology Studies, January 2001

A.B., Harvard University, (magna cum laude) in Engineering Sciences, June 1997



Research Profile

Prof. Mody teaches the history of science, technology, and innovation.  His own research focuses on the history of very recent physical and engineering sciences (~1970 to the present), with particular emphasis on the creation of new communities and institutions of research in the late Cold War and the post-Cold War periods.  His first book, Instrumental Community: Probe Microscopy and the Path to Nanotechnology (2011, MIT Press) explores the co-evolution of an experimental technology (the scanning tunneling microscope and atomic force microscope and their variants) and the community of researchers who built, bought, used, sold, theorized, or borrowed these instruments.  His second monograph, The Long Arm of Moore's Law: Microelectronics and American Science (MIT Press, 2017) shows how the semiconductor industry has reshaped US science and science policy since the early '70s.  A third monograph, Through Change and through Storm: US Physical and Engineering Scientists in the Long 1970s is currently under review. It examines the experiences and adaptations of scientists and engineers who were squeezed between the 1970s counterculture and counter-counterculture. Prof. Mody is beginning a project on the oil industry's complex relationship with environmentalism and alternative energy during the peak years of the resource scarcity debate (1968-1986).

Research Projects

The Long Arm of Moore's Law: Microelectronics and American Science (MIT Press, 2017)

Pierre Teissier, Cyrus C.M. Mody, Brigitte van Tiggelen (eds.), special issue: From Bench to Brand and Back: The Co-Shaping of Materials and Chemists in the Twentieth Century, Cahiers François Viète, Series III, n. 2 (January, 2017).

Through Change and through Storm: US Physical and Engineering Scientists in the Long 1970s (under review)

Joseph D. Martin and Cyrus C.M. Mody (eds.), Between Making and Knowing: Tools in the History of Materials Research [A WSPC Encyclopedia of the Development and History of Materials Science] (World Scientific, in proofs)

Work for third parties

  • editor-in-chief at Engineering Studies (journal)
  • member of editorial board at Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
  • member, adviescommissie Impact van Covid-19 op de wetenschap at Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen

Other activities

Editor-in-chief, Engineering Studies, 2018-present.

Member of the editorial board, Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 2016-present.

Contributing editor, Technology and Culture, 2009-present.

Member of the advisory board, History of Science, 2016-present.

Member of editorial board, History and Philosophy of Technoscience series (Taylor & Francis, publisher; Alfred Nordmann, series editor), 2013-present.

External collaborator, Center for Nanotechnology in Society, University of California – Santa Barbara, 2005-2016

Fellow, Center for Contemporary History and Policy, Chemical Heritage Foundation, 2007-present

Fellow, Center for Interdisciplinary Research group “Science in the Context of Application,” Universität Bielefeld, in residence June-July 2007

Gordon Cain Fellow in Technology, Policy, and Entrepreneurship, Chemical Heritage Foundation, in residence September 2004-June 2005

Fellow, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History, in residence June-August 2002


Additional roles & tasks

Professor in the History of Science, Technology, and Innovation

Director, Maastricht University STS program (as of September 1, 2021)

PI, Managing Scarcity and Sustainability project, Dutch Research Council (NWO) VI.C.191.067

Co-PI, Nanobubbles, ERC Synergy