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Restricted Data: The History of Nuclear Secrecy in the United States
July 21, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm CDT
Join Alex Wellerstein, professor and nuclear historian at Stevens Institute of Technology, in conversation with Lynn Eden, senior research scholar emeritus at Stanford University, to discuss Wellerstein’s recent book, Restricted Data: The History of Nuclear Secrecy in the United States. If secrecy and science form the bedrock of the Atomic Age, what does this mean for a path forward?
Alex Wellerstein is a professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. He is a historian of nuclear weapons, and the author of the recently-published book RESTRICTED DATA: The History of Nuclear Secrecy in the United States (University of Chicago Press, 2021). He has a PhD in the History of Science from Harvard University, and a BA in History from the University of California, Berkeley. Aside from his articles that have been featured in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Harper’s Magazine, among other venues, he is also know known as the creator of the NUKEMAP, an online nuclear weapons effects simulator that has been used by tens of millions of people worldwide.
photo of Lynn Eden
Lynn Eden is Senior Research Scholar (Emeritus) at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and a member of the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board. Her scholarly work focuses on the military and society; science, technology, and organizations; and US nuclear weapons history and policy. Eden’s Whole World on Fire: Organizations, Knowledge, and Nuclear Weapons Devastation won the American Sociological Association’s 2004 Robert K. Merton award for best book in science and technology studies. Her current historical research and writing asks how a specific US military planning organization has enabled very good people to plan what, if put into action, could or would result in the deaths of tens of millions of people. In other words, how do US military officers make plans to fight and prevail in nuclear war? The answer lies not in individual psychology but in common organizational processes such as abstraction, categorization and fragmented responsibilities.