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Margaret O'Mara

Margaret O'Mara

Professor of History, University of Washington
I teach and write about the political, economic, and metropolitan history of the modern United States. I became a professional historian after spending the early years of my career working in national politics and policymaking, an experience that showed me the critical role of historical knowledge in understanding the present and informing the future. My research, teaching, and work with people and organizations beyond academia is inspired and shaped by my desire to make history relevant, exciting, and central to the way we understand our world. At the UW, I offer undergraduate and graduate courses on modern America, political history, urban history, and economic history.

My research focuses on the high-tech industry, American politics, and the connections between the two. I am the author of Cities of Knowledge: Cold War Science and the Search for the Next Silicon Valley (Princeton, 2005), which explored how Silicon Valley came to be and what the Cold War had to do with it, as well as a number of articles and book chapters examining various intersections between cities, politics, and technology. My most recent book, Pivotal Tuesdays (University of Pennsylvania, 2015) grew out of my History Lecture Series I delivered here at the UW the fall of 2012. It explores four game-changing Presidential elections of the 20th century (1912, 1932, 1968, 1992) and places these campaign sagas in broader social and cultural context. I'm now working on a project I'm calling Silicon Age, a history of the late-twentieth century United States told through the lens of the high-tech revolution.

I collaborate with faculty, students, and staff across the UW as a founding member of [email protected], a university-wide initiative dedicated to inclusive, data-driven innovation for the future of cities. I am also a faculty affiliate of the West Coast Poverty Center, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, and an advisory board member for Startup Hall. My professional affiliations beyond the UW have included leadership roles in the Social Science History Association and the Urban History Association, speaking to a wide range of groups as an OAH Distinguished Lecturer, and serving as a fellow of the National Forum on the Future of Liberal Education. In addition to my scholarly work, I work with business leaders, elected officials, media outlets, and cultural organizations on the history and contemporary dynamics of metropolitan economies, particularly how and why innovation thrives in particular places. Locally, this has included serving as the lead curatorial advisor to the Bezos Center for Innovation at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI).

More publications can be found on my CV and my personal website, margaretomara.com.

In 1968, computers got personal: How the 'mother of all demos' changed the world

Sep 18, 2018 12:42 pm UTC| Insights & Views Technology

On a crisp California afternoon in early December 1968, a square-jawed, mild-mannered Stanford researcher named Douglas Engelbart took the stage at San Franciscos Civic Auditorium and proceeded to blow everyones mind about...

1 

Economy

U.S. Treasuries suffer ahead of December industrial production, host of FOMC speeches

The U.S. Treasuries suffered on the last trading day of the week Friday, ahead of the countrys industrial production data for the month of December and FOMC members Williams and Harkers speech, both scheduled for later...

UK gilts slump despite worse-than-expected December retail sales data; Brexit chaos continue to bother

The United Kingdoms gilts slumped during Fridays afternoon session despite a worse-than-expected retail sales data for the month of December, released today amid the ongoing Brexit chaos, followed by PM Mays survival of...

Indonesian imports growth likely to ease this year on lagged impact of Rupiah depreciation, says DBS Economics

Indonesian imports growth is expected to ease through this year compared to last year as lagged impact of Rupiah depreciation will start to take effect, in addition to lower oil price, according to the latest research...

BoK likely to leave key policy rate unchanged next week amid synchronized global slowdown, says Scotiabank

The Bank of Korea (BoK) is expected to leave its benchmark monetary policy rate unchanged at 1.75 percent at its monetary policy meeting on next Thursday amid a synchronized global slowdown and heightened disinflation...

JGBs remain mixed after December national core CPI disappoints investors, November IP improves

The Japanese government bonds remained narrowly mixed Friday after the countrys national consumer price inflation (CPI) data for the month of December disappointed market sentiments and industrial production for November...

Politics

Donald Trump 2019: White House Dismisses Health Concerns Over Blood & Band-Aid on President's Hand

An adhesive bandage covering a dot of blood on U.S. President Donald Trumps right hand earlier this week stirred speculations about his health. But the White House immediately issued a statement telling the public there is...

Melania Trump 2019: FLOTUS Flew to Palm Beach After Donald Trump Canceled Nancy Pelosi’s Afghanistan Visit

Melania Trump has been notably absent in the last few weeks amidst the government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history. But there is precedence to the FLOTUS actions as she behaved similarly last year, although the...

Vladimir Putin Reportedly Backed the Russian’s NRA Infiltration In a Bid to Create Conflicts in the US

Vladimir Putin and his government have repeatedly denied their involvement in the infiltration of the National Rifle Association (NRA) but a U.S. intelligence report showed otherwise. It was said that the Kremlins are...

Donald Trump’s Ratings Plunge as Shutdown Continues; POTUS Reportedly Won’t Negotiate Reopening Government Without Wall Funding

A Rasmussen poll report, on Monday, showed Donald Trumps ratings plunged to its lowest for the past year. A source said the President of the United States is unlikely to negotiate the reopening of the government until his...

Donald Trump Allegedly Furious, Let Out Expletives As Michael Cohen Is Set to Testify Before House Next Month

Donald Trump is allegedly furious after learning that his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is set to testify before the House committee in February. The hearing would be televised, and the lawyer would be questioned about the...

Science

A neuroscientist's tips for a new year tuneup for your brain

Unlike the effervescent bubbles that stream to the top of champagne flutes on New Years Eve, what I call brain bubbles are far from celebratory. These bubbles are metaphorical rather than physical, and they distort the...

Record for decoding the longest DNA sequence is impressive – here's what to expect next

Like other professionals, scientists like to be the best at what they do, but they also like to have fun in their job. And in 2018, my colleagues managed just that in claiming a record for decoding the worlds longest DNA...

Will wearing your coat indoors make you feel colder outside? A scientist explains

If youve ever had to work in a draughty office, warehouse or classroom, youve probably been tempted to keep your coat on inside. And you were probably also advised against it because you wouldnt feel the benefit when you...

A brief history of black holes

Late in 2018, the gravitational wave observatory, LIGO, announced that they had detected the most distant and massive source of ripples of spacetime ever monitored: waves triggered by pairs of black holes colliding in deep...

When you look up, how far back in time do you see?

Our senses are stuck in the past. Theres a flash of lightning, and then seconds pass until we hear the rumble of distant thunder. We hear the past. We are seeing into the past too. While sound travels about a...

Technology

PlayStation 5 Latest News & Update: Sony Asking Fans What They Want from PS5?

It has been a widely accepted notion for a few years now that Sony has been developing the PlayStation 5 for the next generation of console gaming. However, there have been no official confirmations with regards to the...

‘Fortnite’ Latest News & Update: Battle Royale Game Threatening Netflix Bottom Line, Online Streaming Diverting Customers

In a rather surprising recent development, Netflix revealed that it had more to fear from the hugely popular Battle Royale game Fortnite than it did from mainline competition like HBO. This might initially come across as...

‘GTA 6’ Release Date, Features: Rockstar Games Could Revisit a London Map, But Not for Next 'GTA'

The details fans have about GTA 6 for now are mere insider reports and speculations. But some of these are quite entertaining consider such as having a gameplay map set in London. However, Rockstar Games boss Dan Houser...

‘Final Fantasy VII: Remake’ Release Date, Latest News & Update: Developers Rumored to Announce Big Reveal in April

Final Fantasy VII: Remake is still being created within the studio of Square Enix and the developers are remaining mum about when its going to be finished. News about the reimagining is few and far in between given that...

Samsung Galaxy S10 Release Date, Specs: 3 Variants Eyed for 2019 Launch — Including a 5G-Enabled Smartphone

Samsung is rumored to break tradition with the release of the Galaxy S10 series this year. The company is expected to launch, not only two but a total of three variants with one that supports 5G connectivity. The South...
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January 18 15:00 UTC Released

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