Taught by Alexei Kojevnikov at California Institute of Technology, 1997. 


Schedule of readings and topics


Science After '40, ed. A.Thackray, - Osiris, vol. 7 (1992); 

James D.Watson, The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery and the Structure of DNA. (Mentor, 1969); 

Big Science: The Growth of Large-Scale Research, eds. P.Galison, B.Hevly (Stanford 1992); 

David Dickson, The New Politics of Science (Chicago, 1984) 


The practice of science and its social role changed dramatically as a result of World War II. The course offers a comparative perspective on the development of sciences in different countries and political systems - the USA, Soviet Union, Europe - during the Cold War. The topics considered include the emergence of big science, new sources of funding, political and military influences on science, the international competition, environmental crisis and response to it, criticism of science at the end of the century. The Cold War era has recently come to an end - what changes for science may follow from this? 

Schedule of Readings and Topics

1. The Bomb. 

Lawrence Badash, Scientists and the development of nuclear weapons: from fission to the Limited Test Ban Treaty 1939-1963 (Atlantic Highlands, 1995) 
"The Crucibles of Farm Hall," - in: Mark Walker, Nazi Science: Myth, Truth, and the German Atomic Bomb (New York, 1995), 207-241 
Alexei Kojevnikov, "Soviet Project before and after the American Bomb", - Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, 19 (1996), 165-167, 173-177.

2. "Swords into Ploughshares": War's Legacy. 

"Scientific Activities in the Government, 1940-1962," - NSF Report 62-37; 
Roger Geiger, "Science, Universities, and National Defense, 1945-1970" - Osiris 7 (1992) 26-48 
Paul Forman, "Inventing the Maser in Postwar America" - Osiris 7 (1992) 105-134 

3. Molecular Biology 

Lily Kay, The Molecular Vision of Life. Caltech, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Rise of the New Biology (Oxford 1993) Ch. 7-8.
James D.Watson. The Double Helix. (1968) 
Pnina Abir-Am, "The Politics of Macromolecules: Molecular Biologists, Biochemists, and Rhetoric" - Osiris 7 (1992) 164-191 

4. The Space Age 

Walter A. McDougall. The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (Basic Books 1985); 
Michael L. Smith, "Selling the Moon: The U.S. Manned Space Program and the triumph of commodity scientism," - in: The Culture of Consumption: Critical Essays in American history, 1880-1980, eds. Richard W. Fox, T. J. Jackson Lears. (New York 1983)175-236.
Ron Doel, "Evaluating Soviet Lunar Science in Cold War America" - Osiris 7 (1992) 238-264 

5. Changing Politics of Science 

Derek J. de Solla Price. Little Science, Big Science (New York, 1963) 
Daniel J. Kevles, "New revolt against science," - The Physicists (Harvard 1995) 393-409. David Dickson. The New Politics of Science. (1984) Introduction and Ch.1,3. 

6. The Environment 

Spencer Weart, "Global Warming, Cold War, and the Evolution of Research Plans," - in press in: Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences, 27 (1997) 319-356. 
Dorothy Nelkin, "Scientists and Professional Responsibility: The Experience of American Ecologists" - Social Studies of Science, 7 (1977) 75-95. 
Samuel P. Hays, "The Politics of Environments Administration," - in: The New American State, ed. L.Galambos (Baltimore 1987) 21-53;
Sheila Jasanoff, "Science, Politics, and the Renegotiation of Expertise at EPA" - Osiris 7 (1992) 195-217 

7. Big Science 

Robert Seidel, "The Origins of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory."
Dominique Pestre, John Krige, "Some Thoughts on the early History of CERN." 
Robert W. Smith, "The Biggest Kind of Big Science: Astronomers and the Space Telescope." 
- all in: Big Science. The Growth of Large-Scale Research. (1992) 21-45, 78-99, 184-211 

8. Computing 

Peter Galison, "The Ontology of the Enemy: Norbert Wiener and the Cybernetic Vision", Critical Inquiry, 21 (1994) 228-66. 
Stan Augarten, Bit by Bit: An Illustrated History of Computers. (New York, 1984) 

9. End of the Cold War Science 

David Dickson, The New Politics of Science. (1984) Ch. 4. 
Yakov M. Rabkin. Science between the Superpowers. (New York 1988)
Loren Graham, "Big Science in the Last Years of the Big Soviet Union" - Osiris. 7 (1992) 49-71 Daniel J. Kevles, "Reflections on the Death of the SSC and the Life of the Human Genome Project," - in Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences

10. In Search of New Agendas 

"Chaos: a new paradigm," - in: David Ruelle, Chance and Chaos, (Princeton, 1991) 66-79 
"Genetics, Embryology and Gene Action," - in: Evelyn Fox Keller, Refiguring Life: Metaphors of Twentieth-Century Biology (Columbia 1995) 
Bruce V.Lewenstein, "Cold Fusion and Hot History," - Osiris 7 (1992) 135-163 
David Dickson, The New Politics of Science, (1984) Ch. 2, 5, 7.

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