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Workshop at CHI 2011

Along with my colleagues Silvia Lindtner and Irina Shklovski, I'll be running the workshop Transnational HCI at CHI 2011 this year in my hometown of Vancouver BC in May 2011. The workshop, a followup to our successful Transnational Times workshop at Ubicomp 2010 in Copenhagen, examines the role of technology in transnational settings, relationships, and mobilities. We welcome applications from interested colleagues in HCI, sociology, anthropology, cultural geography, and beyond!

New NSF Grant

I have received a grant from the National Science Foundation's Social-Computational Systems division to support my work on the Cassini mission to Saturn for the next three years.  This award will be divided between a cross-disciplinary team at Princeton University involving Sociology, Computer Science, History of Science, and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; and a team at the University of California, Irvine's Department of Informatics, including Prof. Paul Dourish, Dr. Melissa Mazmanian, and graduate student Marisa Cohn. The goals of the project are to better understand the rich social and computational environment in which work on the Cassini mission takes place, with implications for the design of software and hardware in institutions and in upcoming missions. Particular areas of interest include software interfaces, team decision-making, data management, and international collaboration. Watch this space for more details on the project and its findings as they emerge!

Moving to Princeton

I have accepted a position at the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at Princeton University beginning in the fall of 2010. This is an exciting opportunity to join a community of interdisciplinary scholars at the world-class Society itself, as well as to work and teach with colleagues across the university's extraordinary arts and sciences faculties, such as the departments of Sociology, History of Science, and Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, and its interdisciplinary centers like the Center for Information Technology Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School and the Center for the Study of Social Organization. I'm really looking forward to this cross-polination in the next few years as I put together my books on digital image processing in planetary science, and the social organization of spcacecraft teams.

Who is that 17th century astronomical couple on my Kindle?

If you've ever put your Kindle2 to sleep, you may have seen this heavenly couple, Elisabeth and Johannes Hevelius, show up on your screensaver. But where does this image come from and why is it so famous? My recently-published article in the British Journal for the History of Science examines this and other images from Hevelius' same book, Machina Coelestis, which he deployed as a visual polemic against a new telescopic invention trumpeted by his rival Robert Hooke (of "Hooke's Law" fame) in England. Once again, the history of astronomy comes down to, Is it how big it is, or how you use it?

Next up: CHI ...

In April I'll be attending CHI (the ACM Conference on Human-Computer Interaction) as an author on three papers. The first, "Postcolonial Computing", a full paper with Lilly Irani, Paul Dourish, Kavita Phillip and Beki Grinter, explores the application of critical theoretical work in the humanities and social sciences to change how we think about designing for the developing world (called "ICT4D" for short). It's posted under Publications and at time of review was one of the highest ranked papers in the conference: check it out! I also have two papers accepted to workshops which, although technically not publications as they're not part of the formal printed Proceedings, are still reviewed and selected by workshop organizers and provide a great chance to explore new ideas and meet colleagues interested in similar research spaces. "Tweeting Spacecraft" examines the phenomenon of NASA spacecraft having online personas in social networking spaces, and has been accepted to the Workshop on Microblogging. "Death and the Social Network", a paper on which I collaborated with Jed Brubaker, examines what happens when a primary user of a social network site dies: it has been accepted to the Workshop on Death and the Digital. All the papers are available here on my Publications page, as well as downloadable directly through the Workshop websites.

Berlin and Barcelona, Titan and Mars...

My research on the Mars Rover mission was recently featured in the Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine and in the Human-Computer Interaction journal, Ambidextrous -- check it out!

Also, together with Lilly Irani, Paul Dourish, Becki Grinter, and Kavita Phillip, our paper on PostColonial Computing was accepted to CHI2010! Look for the fulltext in the publications section soon...

In other news, 2010 started with a trip to the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science to a hosted conference on Documenting the World, where I presented some of my Rover work to a group of some outstanding historians of photography. With a span from daguerrotypes to digital, it was quite the workshop! Following that, I headed over to Barcelona for the celebration of the 5th anniversary of the Huygens probe landing on Titan. If you missed it, or just want an instant replay of our fascinating descent onto one of Saturn's most mysterious moons, have a look at this collection of images from the landing.

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