Ross Bassett

Associate Professor, Advisor

Ph. D., Princeton University 1998

I teach the history of technology and direct the Benjamin Franklin Scholars program.  I did my undergraduate work at the University of Pennsylvania, where I studied electrical engineering.  After working for eight years at IBM, I left to pursue graduate training in history, eventually earning my doctorate from Princeton.

I have been particularly interested in the movement of people and technologies.   My first book was a history of the MOS transistor, the dominant semiconductor technology of our time.  It was a technology developed by large East Coast vertically integrated firms, but successfully exploited by Silicon Valley start-ups, most notably Intel.  My book traces the movement of this technology from Bell Labs on the East Coast, where it was invented, to Intel.  

More recently I have been interested in the movement of engineers between India and the United States.  I am in the final stages of a history of Indian graduates of MIT.  This study, based on a database of every Indian who graduated from MIT from its founding up to 2000, argues that MIT has played a central role in the technical imaginations of a group of middle class Indians.  My research shows that for more than a century and a quarter, Indians have looked to MIT in their quest for technological development. 

The Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program provides the opportunity for students to earn a degree in engineering and also in the humanities or social sciences.  It is a great program that attracts a talented group of students.  Since I went to the University of Pennsylvania (founded by Benjamin Franklin), and am a serial Franklin Scholar myself, it feels like my destiny to direct this program. 



Research Interests

American History of Technology

Video Presentations:

Before Bangalore and Silicon Valley:  How Indian MIT and IIT Graduates Shaped Computer History

(Talk at Computer History Museum, July 2010)

The Foundation of Today's Digital World:  The Triumph of the MOS Transistor

(Talk at Computer History Museum, July 2010)

Graduate Advisees

Recent Work & Publications

Contact Information

  • Office Location

    478 Withers Hall

  • Phone: 919.513.2231
  • Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Website: Ross Bassett's Website
  • Office Hours

    SPRING 2015


Current Semester

HI 341-001
T H   1145-100
WI 140

HI 792-002
H   300-545PM
WI 246

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350 Withers Hall, Campus Box 8108, Raleigh, NC 27695-8108
Phone: 919.515.2483 Fax: 919.515.3886

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of History