Transports of Delight -- How Technology Conveys Us to New Realms of Being

March 2, 2015
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Anderson Hall, Room 112
Speaker: Peter Hancock, University of Central Florida
Host: Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science


I present three narratives concerning the etiology of necessary engineering disasters. They each contain salient signposts as to the way in which technological imagination and inspiration coalesce and then how they subsequently fail. I look to identify common patterns across these respective examples and extrapolate such trends to other similarly failed technologies in order to articulate the link between initial aspiration, physical manifestation and tragic demise. I shall emphasize certain explicit connections between the three specific stories I present in order to extrapolate much wider principles. Cognizant of the temptation to impose rather than extract regularities, I shall endeavor to articulate more general principles concerning human interaction with self-created technical systems; a phenomenon I have termed self-symbiosis. My curriculum vita is available at ( and I will be prepared to answer questions concerning all of my work.


Peter A. Hancock, D.Sc., Ph.D. is Provost Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Institute for Simulation and Training, as well as at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems at the University of Central Florida (UCF). He directs the MIT Research Laboratories and Associate Director of the Center for Applied Human Factors in Aviation (CAHFA). Prior to his current position, he founded and was the Director of the Human Factors Research Laboratory (HFRL) at the University of Minnesota. He is also an affiliated Scientist of the Humans and Automation Laboratory at MIT, a Research Associate of the University of Michigan Transport Research Institute, and a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola, Florida. Professor Hancock is the author of over seven hundred refereed scientific articles and publications as well as writing and editing fifteen books.