After receiving the A.B. from Princeton, a Junior Fellowship of the Harvard Society of Fellows, and the Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Edward Tenner held teaching and research positions in Chicago and became science editor of Princeton University Press, publishing general interest books and launching competitive series in astrophysics, animal behavior, and earth sciences. Among the works he sponsored were Richard Feynman's last scientific book, QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter and The History and Geography of Human Genes by L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Paolo Menozzi, and Alberto Piazza, which began a new era of human genetics and received the 1994 R.R. Hawkins Award of the Professional and Scientific Division of the Association of American Publishers as the best scientific or professional book of the year.
Developing programs in the the history of science and technology, Edward Tenner became engaged with these fields and resumed a writing career that began when he was an undergraduate and contributor to the Daily Princetonian, the Tiger Magazine, and the Princeton Alumni Weekly. His essay on the differences among Harvard, Yale, and Princeton was published simultaneously by all three alumni magazines.
In 1991 Edward Tenner received a Guggenheim Fellowship and was appointed a visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study, where he began a project on unintended consequences of technology that was published as Why Things Bite Back. As a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 1995-96, he turned to the history of human interactions with everyday objects, which has led to Our Own Devices.
Edward Tenner is a visiting scholar in the Center for Mobile Communication Studies at Rutgers University and a senior research associate of the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History. He is also affiliated with the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies of the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University. He has taught a course in the history of information as a visiting lecturer in the Princeton University Councill of the Humanities and has also held visiting positions in the Princeton Departments of Geosciences and English.
Edward Tenner has contributed essays and reviews to many of the leading newspapers and magazines of the U.S. and the U.K., including U.S. News, the Wilson Quarterly, Technology Review, Raritan Quarterly Review, American Heritage of Invention and Technology, Metropolis, the former Industry Standard, and Designer/Builder. He has also contributed to the Web publications Microsoft Slate, and Forbes.com.
He is a member of the editorial board of Raritan Quarterly Review and a contributing editor of the Wilson Quarterly.