CAL Lecture: Alex Wellerstein, "Nuclear Secrecy, Nuclear Publicity: Knowledge and the Bomb in the 20th and 21st Centuries"

Monday, February 24, 2014 ( 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm )

Location: Morton 324, Stevens Institute of Technology

"Nuclear Secrecy, Nuclear Publicity: Knowledge and the Bomb in the 20th and 21st Centuries"
A talk by Alex Wellerstein (Associate Historian, American Institute of Physics)
February 24, 2014
4:00-5:00 p.m.
Morton 324

The invention of nuclear weapons ushered in a new age of government secrecy in the United States. Never before had existential threats seem to hinge so much on the control of information, and yet the attempt to restrict scientific information engendered tremendous controversy from the very beginning. In this talk, Alex Wellerstein will report on his findings in the history of nuclear secrecy in the United States, addressing not only how they should inform our understanding of World War II and the Cold War, but also what they tell us about government secrecy in a 21st-century democracy. He will also discuss several digital projects and tools he has developed as a means of engaging the public with nuclear issues in our networked age. 

Alex Wellerstein received his Ph.D. in the History of Science from Harvard University in 2010. He is currently under contract with the University of Chicago Press to write a book on the history of nuclear secrecy in the United States from the Manhattan Project through the War on Terror. His blog, Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog, and his nuclear weapons effects simulator, the NUKEMAP, are read and used by thousands of people daily. He is currently an Associate Historian at the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics (College Park, Maryland), and is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Georgetown University History Department (Washington, DC).