Ingrid Ockert

Winner of the 2018 HSS/NASA Fellowship in Aerospace History

Ingrid Ockert (Science History Institute)

The winner of the 2018 HSS/NASA Fellowship is Dr. Ingrid Ockert, currently a Haas Postdoctoral Fellow at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ockert was awarded this fellowship for her proposed book project, The Scientific Storytellers: How Scientists, Journalists, and Actors Brought Science onto American Television, 1948-1980.

Building on research conducted for her dissertation, Ockert’s project investigates the collaborations between scientists and writers that have influenced the images of space science and the  subsequent development of scientific research. “While much attention has been paid to the popularization of science and space exploration in print sources,” Ockert writes, “the genre of educational television has received scant attention.” Her project aims to change that, since millions of Americans learned about space through televised lectures from popular scientists like Carl Sagan and Wernher von Braun, who “helped to shape the popular rhetoric of space and planetary science in the 20th century.”

To understand these relationships, Ockert’s project analyzes the content of fan messages, which allows her to gain a sense of how audiences were actually internalizing the scientific messages presented on screen. She also uncovers the forgotten voices of television production: “the production assistants and writers who, because of their gender and ethnic background, have been forgotten in these histories of science.” Ockert remarks that these men and women used their own positions to advocate for a more inclusive vision of science and that her project honors them by putting their achievements in the spotlight.


See Ockert’s profile at the Science History Institute.

See Ockert’s profile at Princeton University.

Follow Ingrid on Twitter: @ingrid_rocket

Check out Ingrid’s personal website.