Welcome! I am a sociologist of science and technology at Princeton University, where I am an Associate Professor in the Sociology Department.
I am best known for my research with NASA's robotic spacecraft teams, published in books like Seeing Like a Rover and Shaping Science, funded by the National Science Foundation. I am also known for my unique experiments in personal data privacy. And I have a keen interest in the transformations that accompany digital technologies in today's workplace, and how we might built better technologies to better respect our social worlds, which fuels my research, teaching and publishing in human-computer interaction.Check out my publications, public writing, and ongoing projects through the links on the left.
- Position Associate Professor, Princeton University
- Expert in Technology and Society, organizational sociology, science studies, the science of team science, critical design
- Also affiliated with Computer Science; Center for Information Technology Policy; Data and Society Institute; History of Science Program; Digital Humanities
- Teaching Technology and Society; the Sociology of the Internet; the Sociology of the Cubicle; Can we build anti-racist technologies?
- e-mail jvertesi at Princeton dot edu
About My Work
Janet has embedded herself at Nasa to understand how social, cultural and organisational dynamics shape the science and engineering efforts surrounding the Mars Exploration Rover and Cassini Saturn missions. Her brain makes me drool.
Janet Vertesi had a front-row seat for the Mars Exploration Rover project, and for the first time she brought a social scientist’s keen eye to the way we operate rovers on Mars. In Seeing like a Rover she doesn’t just describe how we did what we did. She gets inside our heads to describe why we did what we did... It’s a fascinating read.
Vertesi is an ethnographer embedded in a peculiar world where humans and robots work as equal partners - Margaret Mead among the Starfleet.
Shaping Science is a masterful ethnography of work and organization. Vertesi shows us what ethnomethodological fieldwork can and should be... If you study science, technology, work, or organizations, this book is a must read.
Planetary missions observed9
Alternative phone operating systems used10
Porch Electric Harp Concerts Given in 202021
Cornell University, USA
Science & Technology Studies
Cambridge University, UK
History and Philosophy of Science
University of British Columbia, Canada
Religion Literature and the Arts; Science Studies
2013 - currentFaculty member
Department of Sociology. Assistant Professor 2013-2020. Associate Professor 2020-
Society of Fellows
Interdisciplinary center at Princeton University.
University of California Irvine
Research scholar in the Donald Bren School of Computer and Information Sciences.
2005Human Factors Engineer
User Centered Design group
- Science & Technology Studies
- Organizational Sociology
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Human-Robot Interaction
- The future of work
- The Gig Economy
- The personal data economy
- Society for Social Studies of Science
- American Sociological Association
- Association of Computing Machinery
- Society for the Advancement of Socioeconomics
- American Geophysical Union
Selected Grants and Awards
National Science Foundation
The Sloan Foundation
Members of the press or other media, please contact me via Princeton's media and public relations office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the Media
I tweet as @cyberlyra on Twitter: follow me!
If you are interested in getting in touch for an interview, please contact me via Princeton's media and public relations office at email@example.com
Reviews for Seeing Like a Rover
- The Times Higher Education Supplement
- The Space Review
- the Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin
- New Books in Science Technology and Society Podcast
Public presentations and videos
- My panel talk at Theorizing the Web 2014 about the pregnancy experiment, streamed by Mashable here.
- My talk at the San Francisco Exploratorium: here.
- The Problem with Police Body Cameras, Time Ideas May 4, 2015
- What Sci-Fi Got Wrong About the Apple Watch, Time Ideas April 24, 2015
- Stop Counting On Individuals To Solve California's Water Crisis, Time Ideas April 20, 2015
- Celebrity Nude Photo Hack Exposes Flaw In How We Think About Privacy and the Cloud, Time Ideas September 2, 2014
- The Real Reason You Should Be Worried About That Facebook Experiment, Time Ideas July 2, 2014
- My Experiment Opting Out of Big Data Made Me Look Like a Criminal, Time Ideas May 1, 2014
- Don't Gut NASA Space Missions, CNN Opinion December 14, 2013
- Give Apple Maps a Chance, CNN Opinion October 5, 2012
- Seminar's Relevance, Op Ed in The Daily Princetonian April 4, 2012
- Lost in Space? Cuts to NASA Threaten Innovation, Diplomacy, Op Ed at PBS Need To Know, February 27, 2012
- Where are the Women in the Technology Top 30 Under 30?, Op Ed in Forbes Woman, December 21, 2011
- Our Favorite Martians, a feature article in Air and Space Magazine
- Doing the Rover Dance, in Ambidextrous Magazine.
- My work on the London Underground Map featured in a page spread in National Geographic in July, 2008.
- Mapping and naming the moon in Endeavour Magazine in 2004.
Shaping Science out now!
My new book, Shaping Science, is now available from University of Chicago Press!
Tenured at Princeton University
I am delighted to join the professoriate at Princeton University as a tenured professor in Sociology.
New NSF Grant
With David Reinecke, I've been awarded a new RAPID grant from the National Science Foundation to study the impact of Covid-19 on the space sciences.
The result of eight years of collaboration, our new edited volume on digital studies in STS is available here!
Sloan Foundation grant!
With colleague Adam Goldstein I've been awarded a Sloan Foundation grant to study outsourcing and automation in the gig economy.
Together with a small team, I am undertaking a study on how the Europa mission fares when it forgoes in-person meetings for digital or alternative forms of interaction.
With David Reinecke, we've been awarded a grant to study economic precarity and mission funding at NASA.