Institutionalizing Scientific Internationalism? Diplomacy at Work in the Physical Sciences during the Cold War and Beyond

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Abstract Summary

‘Scientific internationalism’ in the ideals and practices of the physical sciences has become a crucial object of analysis to better understand the history of Cold War science. While the number of international scientific collaborations experienced a dramatic growth from the end of World War II onward, the character and finalities of these collaborations changed substantially and overlapped diplomatic activities that were implicitly or explicitly reflecting the changing political circumstances in which they developed. In particular, while before the Cold War scientists could promote international work without necessarily taking into account the geopolitical landscape, during the Cold War this became an inescapable referent.

The panel offers a platform to investigate the multiple forms that ‘scientific internationalism’ assumed by focusing on the scientific activities of international organizations of different kinds. The speakers present case studies concerning the diplomatic implications of scientific collaborative efforts during the Cold War and beyond: from the changing role of international cooperation in astronomy to the search for ways to boost the scientific unions’ neutrality and collaboration across political divides to the scientific and political agendas of physical societies and multilateral defense alliances.


Abstract ID :
Submission Type
Organized Session
Abstract Topic
Physical Sciences
Temporal Keywords
Science diplomacy, Cold War science, scientific internationalism