Ron Eglash

Professor, Science and Technology Studies

Ron Eglash works at the intersection of culture, technology, and science, researching tools that tap into culture to teach math and science as well as the appropriation of science and technology by under-served groups.

“History is full of powerful social visionaries, like Gandhi and Martin Luther King. And it’s full of powerful technology visionaries like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. But there is a sort of gap or blank space between the two,” said Eglash. “I want to find ways for our students to become the people who fill that gap, bringing research in science and technology to bear on social problems such as poverty, inequality and sustainability.”   

In his work on culturally-situated design tools, Eglash has used African Fractals to introduce readers to fractal geometry and explores the ways it is expressed in African cultures. Drawing on interviews with African designers, artists, and scientists, Ron Eglash investigates fractals in African architecture, traditional hairstyling, textiles, sculpture, painting, carving, metalwork, religion, games, quantitative techniques, and symbolic systems. He also examines the political and social implications of the existence of African fractal geometry. Both clear and complex, this book makes a unique contribution to the study of mathematics, African culture, anthropology, and aesthetic design.

Eglash’s recently published work includes “Recursive Depth in Generative Spaces: Democratization in Three Dimensions of Technosocial Self-organization” in The Information Society; "Fractal Simulations of African Design in Pre-college Computing Education” in ACM Transactions on Computing Education; “Oprah, 419 and DNA: Warning! Identity under Construction.” in Diasporas in the New Media Age: Identity, Politics and Community; and a chapter on “Nanotechnology and Traditional Knowledge Systems.” In the volume Nanotechnology and Global Sustainability.

Recent honors include his appearance as a TED speaker, receipt of the 2009 American Anthropological Association award for “Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship,” a listing among the 2004 winners of the“101 Best Websites in the World”  from the International Society for Technology in Education, a 2001 “Integrating anthropology into schools” award from the  Anthropology Education Commission, and a Fulbright scholarship.


PhD., History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz

M.S., Systems Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles

B.S., Cybernetics, University of California, Los Angeles