Rebecca Slayton


Rebecca Slayton is an assistant professor in the Department of Science and
Technology Studies and director of The Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict
Studies at Cornell University. Her research and teaching examine the
relationships between and among risk, governance, and expertise, with a focus
on international security and cooperation since World War II.

Dr. Slayton’s first book, Arguments that Count: Physics, Computing, and Missile
Defense, 1949-2012 (MIT Press, 2013), shows how the rise of a new field of
expertise in computing reshaped public policies and perceptions about the risks
of missile defense in the United States. In 2015, Arguments that Count won the
Computer History Museum Prize.

Her second book project, Shadowing Cybersecurity, examines the emergence of
cybersecurity expertise through the interplay of innovation and repair. Dr.
Slayton is also working on a third project which examines tensions intrinsic to
the creation of a “smart” electrical power grid—i.e. a more sustainable, reliable,
and secure grid. Both of these current projects are supported by a five-year
National Science Foundation CAREER award, “Enacting Cybersecurity Expertise.”

In 2019, Dr. Slayton was also a recipient of the United States Presidential Early
Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, for her NSF CAREER project.

Prior to joining Cornell’s faculty in 2014, Dr. Slayton taught or lectured at
Stanford University, The University of Edinburgh and the University of
Minnesota. She was also a visiting scientist and postdoctoral fellow at MIT.

An author of numerous research papers and studies, Dr. Slayton received her BS
in chemistry from Westmont College and her MA and PhD in chemistry from
Harvard University.