By Zouyue Wang
In cutting-edge global of speedy developments in technological know-how and know-how, we have to scrutinize greater than ever the historic forces that form our perceptions of what those new probabilities can and can't do for social growth. "In Sputnik's Shadow" offers a lens to just do that, through tracing the increase and fall of the President's technological know-how Advisory Committee from its ascendance lower than Eisenhower within the wake of the Soviet launching of Sputnik to its dying throughout the Nixon years. individuals of this committee shared a robust experience of technological skepticism; they have been simply as vulnerable to suggest the president approximately what know-how could not do - for nationwide safety, area exploration, fingers regulate, and environmental safety - as approximately what it will possibly do.Zuoyue Wang examines key turning issues throughout the 20th century, together with the start of the chilly battle, the debates over nuclear guns, the Sputnik challenge in 1957, the fight over the Vietnam struggle, and the eventual finish of the chilly conflict, exhibiting how the involvement of scientists in government policymaking advanced through the years. Bringing new insights to the highbrow, social, and cultural histories of the period, this ebook not just depicts the drama of chilly warfare American technology, it supplies point of view to how we predict approximately technological developments this day.
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Extra resources for In Sputnik's shadow: the President's Science Advisory Committee and Cold War America
31 Thus, in advising the government, the GAC sought to explain not what a technology could do, but rather what it could not do. ” In other words, it would not help the United States win the Cold War militarily even if it could be made. Furthermore, like the Franck Committee, the GAC argued against the inevitability of a new military technology. ”33 Characteristic of the postwar science advisory scene and foreshadowing of the future PSAC, however, the GAC deliberation was not without its own internal dissent.
11 Compton underestimated the duality problem. Despite his professed disinterestedness and offer of cooperation, FDR’s brain trust of social scientists, who claimed to represent the interest of the government, dismissed the new board as a spokesman for the scientific community. Whereas Compton tried to position scientists as one of the many interest groups that began to dominate American politics after the onset of FDR’s New Deal liberalism and argue that science, as a driving force of American economy, deserved federal support, his reasoning failed to impress those infl uential around Roosevelt.
29 Physicist-turned-historian S. S. Schweber pointed to the training of American physicists in the 1930s that emphasized engineering abilities and a proper balance between theory and experiment. 30 The centrality of physicists in the bomb project also derived from the fact that the technology built closely on new discoveries in nuclear physics. 31 As historians of science increasingly recognize, physics and its practitioners themselves were transformed by this wartime fusion. 32 Such a new material culture of physics would prove to be crucial to the business of science advising as well.