Tim Lenoir

Tim Lenoir Portrait

Position Title
Distinguished Professor

224 Cruess Hall
1 Shields Avenue, Davis CA 95616


  • Ph.D., History & Philosophy of Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 1974
  • B.A., Integrated Liberal Arts, St. Mary's College, Moraga, CA, 1970


I have published several books and articles on the history of biomedical science from the nineteenth century to the present and on the roles of federal programs and university-industry collaborations in stimulating innovation in several areas of science, technology and medicine. A key focus of my recent research in this area has been investigating the impact of federal funding of bionanotechnology and nanomedicine in the US, China, and Europe, and on the role and impact of international collaboration in nanoscience research.

Another focus of my reseach has been on the transformation in biology and medicine effected by computational media, robotics, and computer mediated forms of visualization, including research on bioinformatics, simulation technologies and applications of virtual reality in several areas of biomedicine, such as computer-aided molecular design, surgery and telemedicine.

Another focus of my research has been the development of computer-based military simulation technologies and the interaction between the military and the commercial videogame industry. In connection with this line of research, with support of the MacArthur Foundation, I repurposed a military training simulation and adapted it for training peace and conflict resolution workers. (see: http://www.virtualpeace.org)

Research Focus

My research has focused on the history of biomedicine, particularly on areas related to the impact of of computer technologies such as bioinformatics, robotics and artificial intelligence on contemporary biomedicine. I also work in the areas of critical theory and media studies. Some of my recent studies in critical media studies have addressed the role of computational media in human technogenesis, including an extended essay, “Contemplating Singularity,” an edited e-book, Neurofutures. I also work in the area of critical game studies. My co-authored book with Luke Caldwell, The Military Entertainment Complex, will appear from Harvard University Press in 2017.


  • The Strategy of Life: Teleology and Mechanics in Nineteenth Century German Biology, Chicago; University of Chicago Press, 1989.
  • Instituting Science: The Cultural Production of Scientific Discipline, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997. Portuguese edition, Instituindo a Ciência: A produção cultural das disciplinas científicas, Porto Alegre, Brazil; Editora Unisinos, 2004.
  • Inscribing Science: Scientific Texts and the Materiality of Communication, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998.
  • Neurofutures: Brain-Machine Interfaces and Collective Minds, London: Open Humanities Press, 2011. Online at: http://www.livingbooksaboutlife.org/books/Neurofutures
  • The Military-Entertainment Complex, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017 coauthored with Luke Caldwell.


A selection of papers and book chapters:

  • “The Emergence and Diffusion of DNA Microarray Technology,” Journal of Biomedical Discovery and Collaboration, Vol. 1 (no. 10): August, 2006.
  • “Tracking the Current Rise of Chinese Pharmaceutical Bionanotechnology,” with Patrick Herron, in Journal of Biomedical Discovery and Collaboration, Vol. 4: September 2009.
  • “Technological Platforms and the Layers of Patent Data,” with Eric Giannella, in Mario Biagioli, Peter Jaszi, Martha Woodmansee, eds., Making and Unmaking Intellectual Property: Creative Production in Legal and Cultural Perspective. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011, pp 359-384.
  • “Globalization and De-globalization in Nanotechnology Research: The Role of China,” with Aashish Mehta, Patrick Herron, Richard Appelbaum, and Yasuyuki Motoyama Scientometrics, Online First, 24 March 2012.
  • “Contemplating Singularity,” in Ulrik Ekman, ed., Throughout: Art and Culture Emerging with Ubiquitous Computing, Cambridge, Mass.; MIT Press, 2013, pp. 563-586.
  • “Inventing the Entrepreneurial University: Stanford and the Co-Evolution of Silicon Valley,” in Thomas J. Allen and Rory O’Shea, eds., Building Technology Transfer within Research Universities, Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 2014, pp. 90-130.
  • “The NCI and the Takeoff of Nanomedicine,” with Patrick Herron, Journal of Nanomedicine and Biotherapeutic Discovery, vol. 5, issue 3, 2015: 135. doi: 10.4172/2155-983X.1000135
  • “Research Diversification and Impact: The Case of National Nanoscience Development,” with Patrick Herron, Aashish Mehta, and Cong Cao, Scientometrics, 15 July, 2016.



I teach courses on the co-evolution of technics and human being with particular emphasis on the role of electronic and digital media in contemporary technoculture. My courses also explore the role and impact of biotechnologies, changing reproductive technologies, organ transplantation, tissue engineering, and regenerative technologies, as well as developments in neuroengineering and artificial intelligence on our conceptions of the human and our increasing merger with machines. I also teach courses that explore sources of innovation and the role of economic and political factors in the growth of recent science and technology.


NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship in Science, 1975-76

Fellow, Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, 1982-1984

Zeitlin-Ver Brugge Prize, History of Science Society, 1982

Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies, Berlin, 1983-84

John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, 1987-1988

Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies, Berlin, 1987-1988

Stanford Humanities Center Fellow, 1994-95

Peter Bing Distinguished Teaching Fellow, Stanford University, 1998-2001

MacArthur Foundation, Digital Learning and Media Award, 2008