Historian W. Bernard Carlson will teach courses in TechInnovate, which offers master’s programs in entrepreneurship

W. Bernard Carlson, the Joseph L. Vaughan Professor of Humanities and chair of the Department of Engineering and Society at the University of Virginia School of Engineering, will join the National University of Ireland Galway as a visiting lecturer in entrepreneurship during the 2019-2020 academic year. The university ranks among the top 1 percent of universities in the world and its College of Engineering and Informatics is one of the largest in Ireland.

Carlson will split his time between UVA and Ireland, where he will teach in TechInnovate, the university’s program in entrepreneurship and innovation. His appointment is in the College of Engineering and Informatics and he will supervise master of science students in the TechInnovation and AgInnovation programs.

“I am honored by this appointment and delighted to be a part of TechInnovate at National University of Ireland Galway, a teaching and research institution with a global reputation for excellence,” Carlson said. “TechInnovate is an exciting program that has much is common with technology entrepreneurship at UVA Engineering. Both equip students and faculty with the tools to move their technology innovations into the marketplace, where they can make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to the economic health of our communities. I anticipate a vigorous exchange of ideas over the coming year.”

In addition to serving as chair of Engineering and Society, Carlson directs UVA Engineering’s entrepreneurship and business programs, which help students develop ideas into ventures through coursework and co-curricular activities and provides support to faculty entrepreneurs. He also holds appointments in UVA’s history department and the School of Nursing’s Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry. He studied history and physics as an undergraduate at Holy Cross College, received his Ph.D. in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania, and completed postdoctoral work at the Harvard Business School.

As a historian, Carlson has written widely on inventors as well as on the role of technology in the rise and fall of civilizations. His books include “Innovation as a Social Process: Elihu Thomson and the Rise of General Electric, 1870-1900,” and “Technology in World History,” a seven-volume set. His most recent book, “Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age,” has been translated into nine languages. In 2015, he won the Sally Hacker Prize from the Society for the History of Technology and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ William and Joyce Middleton Electrical Engineering History Award. He has filmed 36 lectures on “Understanding the Inventions that Changed the World” for The Great Courses and is a regular contributor to Forbes.com, writing on innovation and the modern economy.

Carlson has served on several governing boards, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers History Committee, the Business History Conference and the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and for five years he was executive secretary for the Society for the History of Technology. He has advised a variety of companies on innovation, and for more than a decade, was a consultant to Corning Incorporated.

“With this appointment to the National University of Ireland Galway, Professor Carlson joins a long, distinguished line of UVA Engineering faculty sought by other universities because of their exceptional expertise and leadership,” UVA Engineering Dean Craig H. Benson said. “He is a world-class scholar of the history of innovation and the contemporary entrepreneurial landscape, and he will contribute greatly to the TechInnovate program. At the same time, he will bring back to UVA Engineering valuable insights and perhaps new approaches to teaching entrepreneurship, particularly in global and European contexts.”