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Competing with the Soviets

Competing with the Soviets Author Audra J. Wolfe
ISBN-10 9781421407715
Release 2012-11-29
Pages 176
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For most of the second half of the twentieth century, the United States and its allies competed with a hostile Soviet Union in almost every way imaginable except open military engagement. The Cold War placed two opposite conceptions of the good society before the uncommitted world and history itself, and science figured prominently in the picture. Competing with the Soviets offers a short, accessible introduction to the special role that science and technology played in maintaining state power during the Cold War, from the atomic bomb to the Human Genome Project. The high-tech machinery of nuclear physics and the space race are at the center of this story, but Audra J. Wolfe also examines the surrogate battlefield of scientific achievement in such diverse fields as urban planning, biology, and economics; explains how defense-driven federal investments created vast laboratories and research programs; and shows how unfamiliar worries about national security and corrosive questions of loyalty crept into the supposedly objective scholarly enterprise. Based on the assumption that scientists are participants in the culture in which they live, Competing with the Soviets looks beyond the debate about whether military influence distorted science in the Cold War. Scientists’ choices and opportunities have always been shaped by the ideological assumptions, political mandates, and social mores of their times. The idea that American science ever operated in a free zone outside of politics is, Wolfe argues, itself a legacy of the ideological Cold War that held up American science, and scientists, as beacons of freedom in contrast to their peers in the Soviet Union. Arranged chronologically and thematically, the book highlights how ideas about the appropriate relationships among science, scientists, and the state changed over time. -- Michael D. Gordin, Princeton University



The Rise of Nuclear Fear

The Rise of Nuclear Fear Author Spencer R. Weart
ISBN-10 9780674065062
Release 2012-04-02
Pages 367
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After the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant had a meltdown, protesters around the world challenged nuclear power. Climate change has never aroused this visceral dread. Weart dissects this paradox, showing that powerful images surrounding nuclear energy hold us captive, allowing fear, rather than facts, to drive our thinking and public policy.



Soldiers of Reason

Soldiers of Reason Author Alex Abella
ISBN-10 0156033445
Release 2009-05
Pages 388
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An in-depth history of the RAND Corporation describes the behind-the-scenes role of the secretive think tank in shaping American political policy for six decades, detailing its origins, the part it played during the Cold War, and its development of the rational choice theory. Reprint.



Arming Mother Nature

Arming Mother Nature Author Jacob Darwin Hamblin
ISBN-10 9780199911592
Release 2013-04-04
Pages 320
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When most Americans think of environmentalism, they think of the political left, of vegans dressed in organic-hemp fabric, lofting protest signs. In reality, writes Jacob Darwin Hamblin, the movement--and its dire predictions--owe more to the Pentagon than the counterculture. In Arming Mother Nature, Hamblin argues that military planning for World War III essentially created "catastrophic environmentalism": the idea that human activity might cause global natural disasters. This awareness, Hamblin shows, emerged out of dark ambitions, as governments poured funds into environmental science after World War II, searching for ways to harness natural processes--to kill millions of people. Proposals included the use of nuclear weapons to create artificial tsunamis or melt the ice caps to drown coastal cities; setting fire to vast expanses of vegetation; and changing local climates. Oxford botanists advised British generals on how to destroy enemy crops during the war in Malaya; American scientists attempted to alter the weather in Vietnam. This work raised questions that went beyond the goal of weaponizing nature. By the 1980s, the C.I.A. was studying the likely effects of global warming on Soviet harvests. "Perhaps one of the surprises of this book is not how little was known about environmental change, but rather how much," Hamblin writes. Driven initially by strategic imperatives, Cold War scientists learned to think globally and to grasp humanity's power to alter the environment. "We know how we can modify the ionosphere," nuclear physicist Edward Teller proudly stated. "We have already done it." Teller never repented. But many of the same individuals and institutions that helped the Pentagon later warned of global warming and other potential disasters. Brilliantly argued and deeply researched, Arming Mother Nature changes our understanding of the history of the Cold War and the birth of modern environmental science.



The New Math

The New Math Author Christopher J. Phillips
ISBN-10 9780226185019
Release 2014-12-04
Pages 224
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An era of sweeping cultural change in America, the postwar years saw the rise of beatniks and hippies, the birth of feminism, and the release of the first video game. It was also the era of new math. Introduced to US schools in the late 1950s and 1960s, the new math was a curricular answer to Cold War fears of American intellectual inadequacy. In the age of Sputnik and increasingly sophisticated technological systems and machines, math class came to be viewed as a crucial component of the education of intelligent, virtuous citizens who would be able to compete on a global scale. In this history, Christopher J. Phillips examines the rise and fall of the new math as a marker of the period’s political and social ferment. Neither the new math curriculum designers nor its diverse legions of supporters concentrated on whether the new math would improve students’ calculation ability. Rather, they felt the new math would train children to think in the right way, instilling in students a set of mental habits that might better prepare them to be citizens of modern society—a world of complex challenges, rapid technological change, and unforeseeable futures. While Phillips grounds his argument in shifting perceptions of intellectual discipline and the underlying nature of mathematical knowledge, he also touches on long-standing debates over the place and relevance of mathematics in liberal education. And in so doing, he explores the essence of what it means to be an intelligent American—by the numbers.



The Noble Hustle

The Noble Hustle Author Colson Whitehead
ISBN-10 9780345804334
Release 2015
Pages 256
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"In The Noble Hustle, Colson Whitehead does for participatory journalism what he did for zombie novels in Zone One: Take one literary genius, add $10,000 and a seat at the World Series of Poker, and stir. On one level, Colson Whitehead's The Noble Hustle is a familiar species of participatory journalism - a longtime neighborhood poker player, Colson was given a $10,000 stake and an assignment from the online ESPN offshoot Grantland to see how far he could get in the World Series of Poker. But since it stems from the astonishing mind of Colson Whitehead (MacArthur Award-endorsed!), the book is a brilliant, hilarious, weirdly profound and ultimately moving portrayal of - yes, it sounds overblown and ridiculous, but really! - the human condition"--



Engineers for Change

Engineers for Change Author Matthew Wisnioski
ISBN-10 9780262304269
Release 2012-10-19
Pages 304
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In the late 1960s an eclectic group of engineers joined the antiwar and civil rights activists of the time in agitating for change. The engineers were fighting to remake their profession, challenging their fellow engineers to embrace a more humane vision of technology. In Engineers for Change, Matthew Wisnioski offers an account of this conflict within engineering, linking it to deep-seated assumptions about technology and American life. The postwar period in America saw a near-utopian belief in technology's beneficence. Beginning in the mid-1960s, however, society--influenced by the antitechnology writings of such thinkers as Jacques Ellul and Lewis Mumford--began to view technology in a more negative light. Engineers themselves were seen as conformist organization men propping up the military-industrial complex. A dissident minority of engineers offered critiques of their profession that appropriated concepts from technology's critics. These dissidents were criticized in turn by conservatives who regarded them as countercultural Luddites. And yet, as Wisnioski shows, the radical minority spurred the professional elite to promote a new understanding of technology as a rapidly accelerating force that our institutions are ill-equipped to handle. The negative consequences of technology spring from its very nature--and not from engineering's failures. "Sociotechnologists" were recruited to help society adjust to its technology. Wisnioski argues that in responding to the challenges posed by critics within their profession, engineers in the 1960s helped shape our dominant contemporary understanding of technological change as the driver of history.



The Rightful Place of Science Politics

The Rightful Place of Science  Politics Author Michael Crow
ISBN-10 9780615886701
Release 2013-11-19
Pages 126
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The inaugural volume of The Rightful Place of Science book series gathers a collection of thinkers who insist there is much to gain from trying to comprehend the politics of technological change and, its close cousin, the practice of science and scientific research. The authors are part of an intellectual and ethical movement to view science and technology neither as objects of worship nor mere scholarly analysis. They wish to improve on the politics of science and to judge their reforms by a pragmatic measure: the quality of the outcomes of science and technology. To these authors, how we talk about technological change matters, because policies ultimately express deeper vernacular yearnings – for democracy, equity and of course utility. In these essays, hard questions get asked, new perspectives are presented, and contrarian understandings abound.



America s Half Century

America s Half Century Author Thomas J. McCormick
ISBN-10 0801850118
Release 1995-02-01
Pages 291
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"Incisive, eminently readable... McCormick reminds his readers of the unfashionable truths of our time: American domination of the postwar order, the weakness and conservatism of the Soviet Union, the gratuitousness of the nuclear arms race." -- The Nation



World s Fairs on the Eve of War

World s Fairs on the Eve of War Author Robert H. Kargon
ISBN-10 9780822981145
Release 2015-12-18
Pages 232
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Since the first world’s fair in London in 1851, at the dawn of the era of industrialization, international expositions served as ideal platforms for rival nations to showcase their advancements in design, architecture, science and technology, industry, and politics. Before the outbreak of World War II, countries competing for leadership on the world stage waged a different kind of war—with cultural achievements and propaganda—appealing to their own national strengths and versions of modernity in the struggle for power. World’s Fairs on the Eve of War examines five fairs and expositions from across the globe—including three that were staged (Paris, 1937; Dusseldorf, 1937; and New York, 1939–40), and two that were in development before the war began but never executed (Tokyo, 1940; and Rome, 1942). This coauthored work considers representations of science and technology at world’s fairs as influential cultural forces and at a critical moment in history, when tensions and ideological divisions between political regimes would soon lead to war.



Scientists and the Development of Nuclear Weapons

Scientists and the Development of Nuclear Weapons Author Lawrence Badash
ISBN-10 1573925381
Release 1995-01-01
Pages 129
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Here the development of nuclear weapons is viewed from the perspective of the scientist. From the discovery of fission to the Manhattan Project, to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the arms race and early steps toward arms control, this book provides a context for developments in the period 1939-1963. Lawrence Badash traces the course of this tumultuous and apocalyptic period with scientific clarity and sympathetic understanding.



Atomic Age America

Atomic Age America Author Martin V. Melosi
ISBN-10 9781315509754
Release 2016-09-13
Pages 384
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Atomic Age America looks at the broad influence of atomic energy¿focusing particularly on nuclear weapons and nuclear power¿on the lives of Americans within a world context. The text examines the social, political, diplomatic, environmental, and technical impacts of atomic energy on the 20th and 21st centuries, with a look back to the origins of atomic theory.



The Heavens and the Earth

The Heavens and the Earth Author Walter A. McDougall
ISBN-10 1597404284
Release 2008-11
Pages 580
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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History for 1986, this highly acclaimed study approaches the space race as a problem in comparative public policy. Drawing on exhaustive research, author and ORBIS editor Walter A. McDougall examines U.S., European, and Soviet space programs and their politics. 25 illustrations.



Innovation A Very Short Introduction

Innovation  A Very Short Introduction Author Mark Dodgson
ISBN-10 9780192558619
Release 2018-08-23
Pages 160
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What is innovation? How is innovation used in business? How can we use it to succeed? Innovation, the ways ideas are made valuable, plays an essential role in economic and social development, and is an increasingly topical issue. Over the last 150 years our world has hit an accelerated rate of transformation. From aeroplanes to television and penicillin, and from radios to frozen food and digital money, the fruits of innovation surround us. This Very Short Introduction looks at what innovation is and why it affects us so profoundly. It examines how it occurs, who stimulates it, how it is pursued, and what its outcomes are, both positive and negative. Considering innovation today, and discussing future disruptive technologies such as AI, which have important implications for work and employment, Mark Dodgson and David Gann consider the extent to which our understanding of innovation has developed over the past century and how it might be used to interpret the global economy. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.



The United States and the Origins of the Cold War 1941 1947

The United States and the Origins of the Cold War  1941 1947 Author John Lewis Gaddis
ISBN-10 023112239X
Release 1972
Pages 396
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This book moves beyond the focus on economic considerations that was central to the work of New Left historians, examining the many other forces -- domestic politics, bureaucratic inertia, quirks of personality, and perceptions of Soviet intentions -- that influenced key decision makers in Washington.



Freedom s Laboratory

Freedom s Laboratory Author Audra J. Wolfe
ISBN-10 1421426730
Release 2018-11-18
Pages 320
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Closing in the present day with a discussion of the recent March for Science and the prospects for science and science diplomacy in the Trump era, the book demonstrates the continued hold of Cold War thinking on ideas about science and politics in the United States.



Heretic s Heart

Heretic s Heart Author Margot Adler
ISBN-10 9780807070246
Release 2013-05-28
Pages 328
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Starting in 1964, writes Margot Adler in this dazzling memoir, “I found myself mysteriously at the center of extraordinary events.” Now a correspondent for National Public Radio, Adler was a young woman determined to be taken seriously and to be an agent of change—on her own terms, free from dogma and authoritarian constraints. From campus activism at the University of California at Berkeley to civil rights work in Mississippi, from antiwar protests to observing the socialist revolution in Cuba, she found those chances in the 1960s. Heretic’s Heart illuminates the events, ideas, passions, and ecstatic commitments of the decade like no other memoir. At the book’s center is the powerful—and unique—correspondence between Adler, then an antiwar activist at Berkeley, and a young American soldier fighting in Vietnam. The correspondence begins when Adler reads a letter the infantryman has written to a Berkeley newspaper. “I’ve heard rumors that there are people back in the world who don’t believe this war should be. I’m not positive of this though, ’cause it seems to me that if enough of them told the right people in the right way, then something might be done about it. . . . You see, while you’re discussing it amongst each other, being beat, getting in bed with dark-haired artists . . . some people here are dying for lighting a cigarette at night.” Heretic’s Heart also explores Adler’s attempt to come to terms with her singular legacy as the only grandchild of Alfred Adler, collaborator of Freud and founder of Individual Psychology, and as the daughter of a forceful beauty who bequeaths her spunk and adventurousness to her daughter, but whose overpowering personality forces Adler to strike out on her own. Adler’s memoir marks an initiatory journey from spirit through politics and revolution back to spirit again. Revealing, funny, joyful, and often wise, Heretic’s Heart will restore the spirit of the 1960s: the passion, the confusion, the sense of social transformation and limitless possibility, and the ecstatic feeling that the world is on the cusp of change.