Frederik (Rik) Nebeker is the Senior Research Historian at the History Center. He received B.A. and M.A. degrees in mathematics from, respectively, Pomona College and the University of Wisconsin. He received an M.A. in history of science from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in history of science and technology from Princeton University. While at Princeton, he was editor of a major oral-history project, The Princeton Mathematics Community in the 1930s (Princeton University, 1985), and worked as instructor in the History Department. Dr. Nebeker's dissertation was a study of computation in meteorology that focused on the impact of electronic computers on that science. Calculating the Weather: Meteorology in the 20th Century, a revised form of the dissertation, was published by Academic Press in 1995.
Dr. Nebeker was a postdoctoral researcher at the American Philosophical Society (APS), where he studied materials in the manuscript collections of the APS Library concerning geodesy, cartography, hydrography, meteorology, the study of terrestrial magnetism, and related sciences, and he completed a bibliographical monograph, Astronomy and the Geophysical Tradition in 19th-Century America, published by the APS in 1991. He worked also as historian at the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics (AIP), where he carried out research on the history of experimental high-energy physics. His work at the AIP included study of the role of engineering in high-energy physics. Since coming to the IEEE History Center in 1990, Dr. Nebeker has written several books and numerous articles on the history of electrical technologies, including Sparks of Genius: Portraits of Electrical Engineering Excellence (IEEE Press, 1994), The Evolution of Electrical Engineering: A Personal Perspective (by Ernst Weber with Frederik Nebeker, IEEE Press, 1994), and Signal Processing: The Emergence of a Discipline, 1948-1998 (IEEE History Center, 1998). He was a principal investigator of Rad Lab: Oral Histories Documenting World War II Activities at the MIT Radiation Laboratory (IEEE History Center, 1993). He edited, and contributed to, the book From 0 to 1: An Authoritative History of Modern Computing, published by Oxford University Press in 2002. Recent publications include Dawn of the Electronic Age: Electrical Technologies in the Shaping of the Modern World, 1914 to 1945 (John Wiley & Sons, 2009) and Xtreme History: Developing a Historical Sense for the 20th Century, third edition (University Publishing Solutions, 2009).
Dr. Nebeker is adjunct professor in history at Rutgers University. The course he teaches most often is called "The Electronic Century"; it covers electrical, electronic, and computer technologies of the 20th century. Dr. Nebeker has training in the use of science and technology archives, and he has extensive experience conducting oral history interviews.