W. Patrick McCray

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W. Patrick McCray (born 1967) is a historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He researches, writes about, and teaches the history of science and the history of technology.


McCray grew up in rural southwestern Pennsylvania and later attended graduate school at the University of Arizona. He is the author of four books on the history of science and technology; topics include the effects of technology on astronomical practice, the activities of amateur scientists during the Cold War, and activities of scientists who promoted radical visions for the technological future. In 2005, McCray co-founded the Center for Nanotechnology in Society [1] with a grant from the National Science Foundation and leads a research group focusing on the history of nanotechnology. In 2011, he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. McCray's 2013 book The Visioneers won the 2014 Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize [2] from the History of Science Society.


  • Keep watching the skies: The Story of Operation Moonwatch and the Dawn of the Space Age, Princeton.
  • Giant Telescopes: Astronomical Ambitions and the Promise of Technology.
  • The Visioneers. How a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limited Future. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, ISBN 978-0-691-13983-8.

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