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How Regulation Creates Technological Innovation

Dr Lee Vinsel
Dr Lee Vinsel (Photo: Patterson Lawson)

Is there any technology that we love more than our cars? Drawing on the history of automobile regulation in the United States, Dr. Lee Vinsel talks about the rules of the road that fueled innovation in the face of competition, constraints and working for the common good in his informal talk, “Taming the American Car.”

Lee Vinsel, PhD
Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech
Dr. Vinsel grew up among abandoned steel mills in the rust belt town of Joliet, Illinois. The mascot of his high school was “The Steelman” — the name given to a statue originally titled “Science Advancing Mankind,” which had been built for the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago. When in High School he watched the movie Clueless (Paramount Films) and thought, “who’s this Nietzsche guy?” that one of the film’s characters was reading poolside during a memorable scene. That question ignited his mind and led him to earn a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Illinois. He then went on to earn M.S. and PhD degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, where most of his work was supported through a National Science Foundation funded by Carnegie Mellon’s Climate Decision Making Center. While teaching at Stevens Institute of Technology, he co-founded a global research network called The Maintainers, which is dedicated to the study of maintenance, repair, upkeep, and ordinary work with technology. (Read the first essay on this topic hereon Aeon, “Hail the Maintainers”.)

Hanging out before the Dr. Vinsel took the stage. (Photography of Patterson Lawson)

More photos from this event can be found here.

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