Colin Milburn

Colin Milburn Portrait

Position Title
Professor and Gary Snyder Chair in Science and the Humanities
Department Chair

273 Voorhies Hall
1 Shields Avenue, Davis CA 95616


  • Ph.D./Ph.D., Harvard University, 2005
  • M.A., Stanford University, 1999
  • B.S., Stanford University, 1999
  • B.A., Stanford University, 1998


Professor Milburn holds the Gary Snyder Chair in Science and the Humanities. He is a faculty member in the Science and Technology Studies Department, the English Department, and the Cinema and Digital Media Department. He is also affiliated with the programs in Cultural Studies, Performance Studies, and Critical Theory. Since 2008, he has been serving as the director of the UC Davis ModLab digital humanities laboratory.

Research Focus

Professor Milburn’s research focuses on the relations of literature, science, and technology. His interests include science fiction, gothic horror, the history of biology, the history of physics, nanotechnology, video games, and the digital humanities. He is the author of Nanovision: Engineering the Future (2008), Mondo Nano: Fun and Games in the World of Digital Matter (2015), and Respawn: Gamers, Hackers, and Technogenic Life (2018), as well as many other books and articles about the impacts of science fiction and popular media on the history of science.



Professor Milburn teaches a variety of undergraduate courses that explore the intersections of science, literature, and media. His “Writing Science” course (STS 164/ENL 164) focuses on the role of texts and writing practices in the development of scientific knowledge. His “Science Fiction” course (STS 173/ENL 173) covers the history of science fiction as a literary and cinematic genre from the nineteenth century to the present, attending to the importance of imaginative narratives for scientific speculation and technological innovation. His “Video Games and Culture” course (STS 172/ENL 172/CDM 172) considers the impact of computer games and playable technologies on society, science, and the arts. He also frequently offers PhD-level seminars on topics such as “Literature and Science,” “Inventing the Posthuman,” and “Cyberpunk and Cyberculture.”


UC Davis Dean’s Prize for Distinguished Contributions to the Liberal Arts and Sciences, 2020

UC Davis Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate and Professional Education, 2017

Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship, 2015-2017

Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies Book Prize (awarded for Mondo Nano), 2015

International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts Distinguished Scholar Award, 2015

UC President’s Faculty Research Fellowship in the Humanities, 2012-2013

UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellowship, 2010-2015

Hellman Foundation Fellowship, 2008-2009