Professor Donald MacKenzie

IAS Fellow at Hatfield College, Durham University (October – December 2007)

Professor Donald MacKenzie’s first degree was in Applied Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh, where he went on to study for his PhD at Edinburgh’s Science Studies Unit. He was appointed to a Lectureship in Edinburgh University’s Department of Sociology in 1975, and now holds a Personal Chair. He has held visiting positions at Deakin University, the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, Harvard University and the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte.

His work, which has mostly been in the sociology of science and technology, has led to five books: Statistics in Britain, 1865-1930: The Social Construction of Scientific Knowledge (Edinburgh University Press, 1981); Inventing Accuracy: A Historical Sociology of Nuclear Missile Guidance (MIT Press, 1990); Knowing Machines: Essays on Technical Change (MIT Press, 1996); Mechanizing Proof: Computing, Risk, and Trust (MIT Press, 2001); An Engine, not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets (MIT Press, 2006). The last of these books reflects his current research interest in the sociology of markets.

He has also co-edited two collections: The Social Shaping of Technology (Open University Press, 1985, second edition, 1999; co-edited with Judy Wajcman) and Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics (Princeton University Press, 2007; co-edited with Fabian Muniesa and Lucia Siu). His academic articles have been translated into Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Persian, and Polish.

His work has been awarded a number of international prizes, including the Abbott Payson Usher Prize of Society for the History of Technology, 1986; US Navy Prize in Naval History, 1989; joint winner, Robert K. Merton Award of the American Sociological Association, joint winner 1993 & outright winner, 2003; Zelizer Prize of American Sociological Association, 2005; Ludwik Fleck Prize of the Society for Social Studies of Science, 1993; John Desmond Bernal Prize of the Society for Social Studies of Science, 2005. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2001 and a Fellow of the British Academy in 2004.

During his time at IAS, he will be working on two projects. The first is on the evolution of credit derivatives markets, and especially on the role of mathematical models in those markets. The second is on the development of greenhouse-gas emissions markets, where he will analyzing the socio-political and technological conditions necessary for those markets to become effective tools of abatement.