People - Ethics, History, & Public Policy - Carnegie Mellon University

Jay Aronson

Jay Aronson


Office: Baker Hall 246B

Phone: 412-268-2887


I am Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society in the History Department. My research and teaching focus on the interactions of science, technology, law, and human rights in a variety of contexts. My first book, Genetic Witness: Science, Law, and Controversy in the Making of DNA Profiling (Rutgers University Press, 2007), examines the development of forensic DNA analysis in the American legal system.  I am currently engaged in a long-term study of the ethical, political, and social dimensions of post-conflict and post-disaster DNA identification of the missing and disappeared.  The main courses I teach are: History of Public Policy in the United States (79-300); Global Justice (79-298/80-447); Introduction to Science and Technology Studies (79-342); and Biology and Society in the 19th Century (79-333).  I also occasionally teach a course devoted to the history of evolutionary thought at the graduate level.  I received my Ph.D. in History of Science and Technology from the University of Minnesota and was both a Pre- and Post-Doctoral Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

As the director of the Ethics, History, and Public Policy major, I am primarily responsible for working with students to craft an education program that helps them meet their personal and professional goals.  This task includes, but is not limited to: selecting courses; making sure all major requirements are met; helping majors identify research and extra-curricular activities; helping majors identify awards, honors, and contests for which they are eligible; ensuring that majors are able to study abroad at least one semester during their time at Carnegie Mellon (if they choose to do so); helping students overcome obstacles and challenges that limit peak academic performance; and encouraging majors to make use of the excellent career and internship resources we have here on campus.