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Cold war and hot physics : Reflections on science, security and the American state

Kevles, Daniel J. (1988) Cold war and hot physics : Reflections on science, security and the American state. Humanities Working Paper, 135. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20111111-094852673

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Abstract

The contributions of physics to the Allied victory in World War II made clear that the maintenance of national security required major public investment in scientific research and training. By the late 1940s, the United States government was spending about one billion dollars annually on research and development (R&D), mainly through the Department of Defense and the Atomic Energy Commission. The Korean War drove these expenditures permanently higher. Between 1945 and 1957, defense-related agencies formed the principal patrons of the country's civilian science. At the same time, civilian scientists became deeply engaged in advising the government upon the technologies of national security, obtaining access to the White House with the creation, in 1951, of the Science Advisory Committee, through which they helped accelerate the nation's missile development program. Under this patronage and influence, physics flourished-both high-energy particle physics and branches of physics such as quantum and micro-electronics that were directly related to national security. The result was a diversification of physics and its integration across a broad front into the R&D network of national security.


Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Group:Humanities Working Papers
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20111111-094852673
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20111111-094852673
Official Citation:Kevles, Daniel J. Cold war and hot physics Reflections on science, security and the American state.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided. Pasadena, CA: California Institute of Technology, 1988. Humanities Working Paper, No. 135.
ID Code:27745
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Lindsay Cleary
Deposited On:21 Feb 2012 21:39
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 14:24

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