Cold War Science

Spring 2002 taught by Hugh Gusterson and David Kaiser, M.I.T. 

L-R: Oppenheimer, Major W.A. ("Lex") Stevens; searching for test site for first atomic bomb.


Baker Day at Bikini Atoll, 25 July 1946.


Reading List: (back to top)

Instructors: Hugh Gusterson and Dave Kaiser
Program in Science, Technology, and Society, M.I.T.

I. Diplomatic Histories of the Origins of the Cold War [11 February 2002] (back to top)

  1. 1. John L. Gaddis, The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941-1947 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1972).
  2. Gar Alperovitz, Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam. The Use of the Atomic Bomb and the American Confrontation with Soviet Power, 2nd ed. (New York: Penguin, 1985 [1965]).
  3. Martin Sherwin, A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and the Origins of the Arms Race, 2nd ed. (New York: Vintage, 1987 [1973]).

II. The Decision to Build the H-Bomb [26 February 2002] (back to top)

  1. Walter LaFeber, America, Russia, and the Cold War, 1945-1966 (New York: Wiley, 1967).
  2. United States Atomic Energy Commission, General Advisory Committee report, 30 October 1949. Reprinted in The American Atom: A Documentary History of Nuclear Policies from the Discovery of Fission to the Present, 1939-1984, edited by R. C. Williams and P. L. Cantelon (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984), pp. 120-7.
  3. Peter Galison and Barton Bernstein, “‘In any light’: Scientists and the Decision to Build the Hydrogen Bomb,” Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences 19 (1989): 267-347.
  4. Herbert York, The Advisors: Oppenheimer, Teller, and the Superbomb, 2nd ed. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989 [1976]).

III. Domestic Anticommunism and American Scientists [12 March 2002] (back to top)

  1. Ellen Schrecker, No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the Universities (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).
  2. Barton Bernstein, “‘In the matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer,’” Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences 12 (1982): 195-252.
  3. Jessica Wang, American Science in an Age of Anxiety: Scientists, Anticommunism, and the Cold War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999).
  4. Silvan S. Schweber, In the Shadow of the Bomb: Oppenheimer, Bethe, and the Moral Responsibility of the Scientist (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000).
  5. David Kaiser, “Nuclear Democracy: Political Engagement, Pedagogical Reform, and Particle Physics in Postwar America,” Isis 93 (June 2002): in press.

IV. Big Science [1 April 2002] (back to top)

  1. Peter Hales, Atomic Spaces: Living on the Manhattan Project (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997).
  2. Paul Forman, “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.
  3. Peter Galison, “Physics Between War and Peace,” in Science, Technology, and the Military, edited by Everett Mendelsohn, M. Roe Smith, and Peter Weingart (Boston: Kluwer, 1988), volume 1, pp. 47-86.
  4. Peter Galison and Bruce Hevly, eds., Big Science: The Growth of Large-Scale Research (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992). [Especially the articles by Seidel; Galison, Hevly, and Lowen; Pestre and Krige; Traweek; Schweber; and Kevles.]
  5. Robert Seidel, “The postwar political economy of high-energy physics,” in Pions to Quarks: Particle Physics in the 1950s, edited by Laurie Brown, Max Dresden, and Lillian Hoddeson (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 497-507.

V. The Cold War and the Universities [15 April 2002] (back to top)

  1. Stuart Leslie, The Cold War and American Science: The Military-Industrial-Academic Complex at MIT and Stanford (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993).
  2. Rebecca Lowen, Creating the Cold War University: The Transformation of Stanford (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).
  3. Noam Chomsky et al., eds., The Cold War & The University: Toward an Intellectual History of the Postwar Years (Boston: New Press, 1997).
  4. Mark Solovey, “Project Camelot and the 1960s Epistemological Revolution: Rethinking the Politics-Patronage-Social Science Nexus,” Social Studies of Science 31 (April 2001): 171-206.

VI. Missiles, Bombs, and their Detractors, 1960-1990 [29 April 2002] (back to top)

  1. Donald MacKenzie, Inventing Accuracy: A Historical Sociology of Nuclear Missile Guidance (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1990).
  2. Donald MacKenzie and Graham Spinardi, “Tacit Knowledge, Weapons Design, and the Uninvention of Nuclear Weapons,” American Journal of Sociology 101 (1995): 44-99.
  3. Hugh Gusterson, Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996).
  4. Russell Dalton et al., Critical Masses: Citizens, Nuclear Weapons Production, and Environmental Destruction in the United States and Russia (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999).

VII. The Cold War Legacy [13 May 2002] (back to top)

  1. Gregg Herken, Cardinal Choices: Presidential Science Advising from the Atomic Bomb to SDI (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).
  2. Paul Edwards, The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996).
  3. Miguel De Landa, War in the Age of Intelligent Machines (New York: Zone, 1991).
  4. Eileen Welsome, The Plutonium Files: America’s Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War (New York: Dial Press, 1999).

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