Director and The Sue G. and Harry E. Bovay Jr. Professor in the History and Ethics of Professional Engineering
Ronald Kline received a Ph.D. in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1983, after working as an electrical engineer for the General Electric Company from 1969 to 1977.
He was director of the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in New York City from 1984 to 1987. Ron joined Cornell University as an assistant professor of the history of technology in 1987. In 2003, he was elected to be the first Bovay Professor of the History and Ethics of Professional Engineering at Cornell. He holds a joint appointment between the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Science and Technology Studies Department in the Arts College.
He has served as president of the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology, editor of the IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, and as an advisory editor for IEEE Transactions on Education, IEEE Spectrum, and Isis. Ron is currently an advisory editor for the journals Social Studies of Science and Technology and Culture and is on the editorial committees of the Society for the History of Technology and the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology. He is also president -elect of the Society for the History of Technology.
Ron is the author of several articles on the history and ethics of engineering and technology and two books, Steinmetz: Engineer and Socialist (1992), and Consumers in the Country: Technology and Social Change in Rural America (2000). He is currently writing a book on the development of information theory, its applications to the physical and social sciences in the 1950s and 1960s, and discourses about an Information Age from the 1960s to the present.
The proud grandfather of four grandchildren (Ruth, Anders, Kate, and Kjell), Ron teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in the history and social implications of technology and engineering.