Robert H. Kargon

Kargon headshot
Robert Hugh Kargon was born in Brooklyn, educated with a Union Carbide Research Scholarship at Duke University where he received a B.Sc. degree in physics. He earned a Master of Science degree in physics at Yale and a Ph.D. in history of science from Cornell. He received an honorary D.Sc. degree from the University of Westminster (London) in 2008. Kargon taught at the University of Illinois 1964-65 before moving to Johns Hopkins University where he is now Willis K. Shepard Professor of the History of Science.

His first book, Atomism in England from Hariot to Newton (1966), dealt with the Scientific Revolution. Subsequently his historical interests broadened and moved forward in time. His other books include The Maturing of American Science (1974), Science in Victorian Manchester: Enterprise and Expertise (1977), The Rise of Robert Millikan (1982), Invented Edens: Techno-Cities of the 20th Century [with Arthur Molella] (2008), Urban Modernity: Cultural Innovation in the Second Industrial Revolution [with Miriam Levin et al.] (2010), and World’s Fairs on the Eve of War: Science, Technology and Modernity [with Karen Fiss et al.] (2015).

Kargon organized (with Paul Hanle of the Air and Space Museum) the Space Telescope History Project, with NASA’s support, and placed a “combat historian” on the Hubble Space Telescope Project headed by Riccardo Giacconi while the project was developing. Kargon was a contributor to the resulting book The Space Telescope (1989) by Robert Smith that was published before the launch in 1990.

He lives in Baltimore with his wife and near his two adult children.

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