Matthew Hersch

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Lecturer in Bioengineering
Lecturer in Science, Technology and Society
Research Associate, Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Southern California
HSS-NASA Fellow in the History of Space Science
Guggenheim Fellow, National Air and Space Museum
Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania
A.M. University of Pennsylvania
J.D. New York University School of Law
S.B. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Contact Information
Office Address: 
335 Claudia Cohen Hall
Office Address: 
108 Hayden Hall
Telephone: 
(215) 898-8400
Email Address: 
mhersch@sas.upenn.edu
Office Hours: 
Tues. 3:00-5:00pm (Hayden Hall) and by appt.
Office Hours: 
Weds. 3:00-5:00pm (Cohen Hall) and by appt.
Teaching Fields: 

History of science; history of technology; military history; history of computing and information, engineering ethics  Recent courses:

  • Science, Technology and Warfare
  • The Information Age
  • Technology and Society
  • Cyberculture
  • The Emergence of Modern Science
  • Engineering Ethics
Research Interests: 

History of spaceflight; science, technology, and popular culture.

Selected Publications: 

Inventing the American Astronaut (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

"Using the Shuttle: Operations on Orbit," in The Space Shuttle Legacy: How We Did It and What We Learned, by John Krige and Roger Launius, Editors (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2013).

"'Capsules Are Swallowed': The Mythology of the Pilot in American Spaceflight," in Spacefarers: Images of Astronauts and Cosmonauts in the Heroic Era of Spaceflight, by Michael J. Neufeld and Stephen J. Garber, Editors (Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2013).

"Space Apes Want our Women!  Primate Lust in American Science Fiction Film," in The Sex Is Out of This World: Essays on the Carnal Side of Science Fiction, by Michael G. Cornelius and Sherry Ginn, Editors (Jefferson: McFarland, 2012).

"The Semiotics of Spaceflight on the Satellite of Love," in In the Peanut Gallery with Mystery Science Theater 3000: Essays on Film, Fandom, Technology and the Culture of Riffing, by Rob Weiner and Shelley Barba, Editors (Jefferson: McFarland, 2011).

"Return of the Lost Spaceman: America's Astronauts in Popular Culture, 1959-2006," The Journal of Popular Culture 44 (2011): 73-92.

"High Fashion: The Women's Undergarment Industry and the Foundations of American Spaceflight," Fashion Theory 13 (2009): 345-70.

"Checklist: The Secret Life of Apollo’s 'Fourth Crewmember,' " in Space Travel and Culture: From Apollo to Space Tourism, by Martin Parker and David Bell, Editors, Sociological Review (Monograph) 57 (2009): 6-24.

"'Calm, But Still Alert': Marketing Stelazine to Disturbed America, 1958-1980," Pharmacy in History 51 (2009): 140-48.

"Apollo's Stepchildren: New Works on the American Lunar Program," Technology and Culture 49 (2008): 449-55.

Book Images: 
[In the Peanut Gallery]
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Curriculum Vitæ: 
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STSC 160-2014C Syllabus.pdf465.88 KB
STSC 212-2014C Syllabus.pdf470.49 KB
EAS 203-2014C Syllabus.pdf777.11 KB