Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cold War Science Is Everywhere

Posted by Darin Hayton on 06/16 at 07:25 AM

Cold War Science seems to be everywhere lately. In addition to Terry Christensen’s paper on Cold War Liberals and Will Thomas’s excellent Hawks, Doves and Various Avian Hybrids, the latest issue of Isis has a focus section on “New Perspectives on Science and the Cold War.”

The Focus in Isis includes a nice range of articles by Hunter Heyck, David Kaiser, Paul Erikson and others. Hyeck and Kaiser characterize the collection in the following terms:

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Cold War looks ever more like a slice of history rather than a contemporary reality. During those same twenty years, scholarship on science, technology, and the state during the Cold War era has expanded dramatically. Building on major studies of physics in the American context—often couched in terms of “big science”—recent work has broached scientific efforts in other domains as well, scrutinizing Cold War scholarship in increasingly international and comparative frameworks. The essays in this Focus section take stock of current thinking about science and the Cold War, revisiting the question of how best to understand tangled (and sometimes surprising) relationships between government patronage and the world of ideas.

All the articles are available for free, so go read some:
Hunter Heyck & David Kaiser, “Introduction
Zuoyue Wang, “Transnational Science during the Cold War
Kristie Macrakis, “Technophilic Hubris and Espionage Styles during the Cold War
Paul Erikson, “Mathematical Models, Rational Choice, and the Search for Cold War Culture
David C. Engerman, “Social Science in the Cold War
Rebecca Lemov, “‘Hypothetical Machines’: The Science Fiction Dreams of Cold War Social Science

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