W Patrick McCray
Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara

W Patrick McCray is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of four books, including the prizewinning The Visioneers: How a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future (2012) and Making Art Work: How Cold War Engineers and Artists Forged a New Creative Culture (2020). He lives in Santa Barbara and Fort Collins.

Written by W Patrick McCray

Survival Piece I: Hog Pasture (1970-71) by Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, for the exhibition ‘Earth, Air, Fire and Water’ at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Photo by Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison/The Harrison Studio

Essay/
Art
The art of survival

The Harrisons’ eco-art told stories about the apocalypse, pointing to a future where we’d all have to be survival artists

W Patrick McCray

In the General Electrics Research laboratory circa 1949. Photo by Bettmann/Getty

Essay/
History of technology
It’s not all lightbulbs

If we abandon the cult of the Great White Innovator, we will understand the history of technology in a much deeper way

W Patrick McCray