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About Robert Martello

Robert Martello began researching America's transition from crafts to industry while a Ph.D. student in MIT's Program in the History and Social Study of Science and Technology. He received his Ph.D. in 2001 and in the same year started working at Olin College in Needham, Mass., where he is now a professor of the history of science and technology. Professor Martello chaired Olin's Arts, Humanities, and Social Science Committee for many years and helped to shape Olin's curriculum, taking particular pride in its interdisciplinary and self-study components. He has written several papers and offered numerous presentations on his National Science Foundation–sponsored educational research, which explores connections between interdisciplinary education, student motivation, and self-directed project-based learning.
Professor Martello has also written several articles on the subject of industrialization, and his book, Midnight Ride, Industrial Dawn: Paul Revere and the Growth of American Enterprise, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2010. This book combines a biographical narrative of Paul Revere's long manufacturing career with a comparison of America's managerial, labor, technological, and environmental practices before and after the revolution. Professor Martello has more recently started researching Benjamin Franklin's printing career, investigating Franklin's many impacts upon early American printing as well as the ways his artisan experiences set him apart from America's other founding fathers. He has presented these new interpretations of Revere and Franklin for over 30 historical societies, libraries, and other public audiences.
Professor Martello attempts to connect theory to practice in both his education research and his studies of early American industry. He has recently offered workshops for universities in America, Chile, Guatemala, and Brazil, and to local K-12 teachers, with an emphasis upon techniques for fostering intrinsic motivation through interdisciplinary project-based learning experiences. He is also the university scholar for two Mass Humanities grants aimed at developing new history of technology exhibits at the Paul Revere House and USS Constitution Museum.


Present Professor of the History of Science and Technology, Olin College of Engineering


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  • The "Stuff" of History
  • Paradigms, Predictions, and Joules
  • Six Books that Changed the World
  • Science Fiction and Historical Context

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Articles (9)

Books (1)

Contributions to Books (1)

Conference Proceedings (1)