STS.436 | Fall 2008 | Graduate

Cold War Science


As you read, it will be helpful to keep several questions in mind: can you summarize the author’s main thesis or argument? What kinds of examples are brought forth to bolster the main thesis? Upon what kinds of sources does the author draw? How does the main argument fit into the broader literature on the subject or within the field? Reading to answer these questions will be more important than dwelling on particular details within a given study.

1 Introduction  
2 Atomic diplomacy

Gordin, Michael. Five Days in August: How World War II Became a Nuclear War. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780691128184.

McMillan, Priscilla. The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Birth of the Modern Arms Race. New York, NY: Viking, 2005. ISBN: 9780670034222.

Holloway, David. Stalin and the Bomb: The Soviet Union and Atomic Energy, 1939-1956. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994. ISBN: 9780300060560.

United States Atomic Energy Commission. General Advisory Committee Reports on Building the H-Bomb, October 30, 1949.

3 McCarthyism and espionage

Wang, Jessica. American Science in an Age of Anxiety. Durham, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780807824474.

Kaiser, David. “The Atomic Secret in Red Hands? American Suspicions of Theoretical Physicists During the Early Cold War.” Representations 90 (2005): 28-60.

Wellerstein, Alex. “Patenting the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Intellectual Property, and Technological Control.” Isis 99 (2008): 57-87.

Hoover, J. Edgar. “The Crime of the Century: The Case of the A-bomb Spies.” Reader’s Digest 58 (May 1951): 149-68.

Macrakis, Kristie. Seduced by Secrets: Inside the Stasi’s Spy-Tech World. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2008. ISBN: 9780521887472. [Preview in Google Books]

4 “How I learned to stop worrying”

Ghamari-Tabrizi, Sharon. The Worlds of Herman Kahn: The Intuitive Science of Thermonuclear War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780674017146. [Preview in Google Books]

Kirsch, Scott. Proving Grounds: Project Plowshare and the Unrealized Dream of Nuclear Earthmoving. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780813536668.

Eden, Lynn. Whole World on Fire: Organizations, Knowledge, and Nuclear Weapons Devastation. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780801472893.

Mody, Cyrus C. M. “Book Reviews: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, the Nuclear Reactor, the Computer, Ham Radio, and Recombinant DNA.” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 38 (2008): 451-461.

5 Big science, big classrooms

Forman, Paul. “Behind Quantum Electronics: National Security as Basis for Physical Research in the United States, 1940-1960.” Historial Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences 18 (1987): 149-229.

Lowen, Rebecca. Creating the Cold War University: The Transformation of Stanford. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997. ISBN: 9780520205413. [Preview in Google Books]

Rudolph, John. Scientists in the Classroom: The Cold War Reconstruction of American Science. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. ISBN: 9780312295011. [Preview in Google Books]

Kaiser, David. American Physics and the Cold War Bubble. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, in preparation.

Engerman, David. “Rethinking Cold War Universities: Some Recent Histories.” Journal of Cold War Studies 5 (2003): 80-95.

6 Exports and imports

Buy at MIT Press Gerovitch, Slava. From Newspeak to Cyberspeak: A History of Soviet Cybernetics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780262572255.

Buy at MIT Press Krige, John. American Hegemony and the Postwar Reconstruction of Science in Europe. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008. ISBN: 9780262612258.

Krige, John, and Kai-Henrik Barth, eds. In Osiris, Volume 21: Global Power Knowledge: Science and Technology in International Affairs. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780226454047.

  • - Hecht, Gabrielle. “Negotiating Global Nuclearities: Apartheid, Decolonization, and the Cold War in the Making of the IAEA.” pp. 25-48.
  • - Abraham, Itty. “The Ambivalence of Nuclear Histories.” pp. 49-65.
  • - W. Leslie, Stuart and Robert Kargon. “Exporting MIT: Science, Technology, and Nation-building in India and Iran.” pp. 110-130.
7 Talking back, moving on

Moore, Kelly. Disrupting Science: Social Movements, American Scientists, and the Politics of the Military, 1945-1975. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008. ISBN: 9780691113524. [Sample from publisher: Chapter 1]

Vettel, Eric. Biotech: The Countercultural Origins of an Industry. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. ISBN: 9780812220513. [Preview in Google Books]

Turner, Fred. From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2008. ISBN: 9780226817422. [Preview in Google Books]

Kaiser, David. “How the Hippies Saved Physics.” (paper in preparation).

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2008
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments