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The Virtual Field

Sensing is an integral part of collecting data in the field. As apparatuses become more refined, they increase the capacity and precision of data that can be collected in even the most forbidding of zones. Historian of science Etienne Benson describes how the increasingly complex infrastructure of sensing is altering the experience of fieldwork, the persona of the scientist, and the nature of the knowledge that is produced.

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Etienne Benson

University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Etienne Benson is a historian of science, technology, and environment in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the history of relationships between humans and animals and on the history of environmentalism and the environmental sciences. He received his PhD in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology & Society from MIT in 2008. His book Wired Wilderness is about the history of wildlife radio-tracking and its media technologies. Prior to 2013 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment and a research scholar in Department II of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.