Cushing Memorial Prize for 2013

Cyrus Mody
Rice University

Cyrus ModyThe John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, along with the Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Notre Dame and the Advisory Committee of the James T. Cushing Memorial Prize in History and Philosophy of Physics are pleased to announce the award of the Cushing Prize for 2013 to Dr. Cyrus Mody, Rice University. Dr. Mody is being honored for his book, Instrumental Community: Probe Microscopy and the Path to Nanotechnology, published by The MIT Press in 2011. The Cushing Prize carries a $1000 award plus an invitation to deliver a lecture as part of the History and Philosophy of Science Colloquium at the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Mody was nominated for the Cushing Prize by W. Patrick McCray, professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prof. McCray describes the significance and virtues of Mody's book: "Mody's book provides an excellent study of the emergence of a modern technoscientific community. The focal point of Mody's fine-grained study is the invention and subsequent influence of the scanning tunneling microscope which was the basis for the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics. Mody shows how this instrument originated in basic physics research at IBM and subsequently became a catalyst for a wide range of nanoscale scientific and engineering research. Along the way, a whole new "instrumental community" emerged such that the STM and its progeny are among the most common tools used by experimental physicists today. Mody's excellent book offers insight into how technical communities function and the instruments that enable frontier research in the physical sciences are made and adopted. Seen more broadly, Instrumental Community also speaks to the commercialization of academic research and how basic research in the physical sciences continues to be a spur for innovation. The book is wellcrafted, subtly written, and thoroughly researched."

Dr. Mody is assistant professor in the Department of History at Rice University, where he teaches the history of science, technology, and engineering. He earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2004.