The Neutrons Children: Nuclear Engineers and the Shaping of Identity by Sean Francois Johnston

The Neutrons Children: Nuclear Engineers and the Shaping of Identity

bySean Francois Johnston

Hardcover | April 18, 2012

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The first nuclear engineers emerged from the Manhattan Project in the USA, UK and Canada, but remained hidden behind security for a further decade. Cosseted and cloistered by their governments, they worked to explore applications of atomic energy at a handful of national labs. This uniquebottom-up history traces how the identities of these unusually voiceless experts - forming a uniquely state-managed discipline - were shaped in the context of pre-war nuclear physics, wartime industrial management, post-war politics and utopian energy programmes. Even after their eventual emergence at universities and companies, nuclear workers carried the enduring legacy of their origins. Their shared experiences shaped not only their identities, but our collective memories of the late twentieth century. And as illustrated by the Fukushima accident sevendecades after the Manhattan project began, this book explains why they are still seen conflictingly as selfless heroes or as mistrusted guardians of a malevolent genie.

About The Author

Sean Johnston is Reader in History of Science and Technology at the University of Glasgow, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Chartered Physicist (Institute of Physics). He has worked as a scientist, researcher and development manager at North American and British firms and at the University of Leeds, and as an historian at...

Details & Specs

Title:The Neutrons Children: Nuclear Engineers and the Shaping of IdentityFormat:HardcoverDimensions:344 pages, 9.45 × 6.61 × 0 inPublished:April 18, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199692114

ISBN - 13:9780199692118

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: the neutron and its progenyPART A: Gestation2. New knowledge for new purposes3. Implanting industrial culturesPART B: Incubation4. The atomic nursery5. 'Like children in a toy factory'PART C: Emergence6. A state-managed profession7. Nuclear specialists at workPART D: Representations8. Unstable impressions9. Conclusions: careers from the Manhattan Project to Fukushima

Editorial Reviews

"I enthusiastically recommend this fascinating study of nuclear engineering, which documents its development from its diverse origins in secret laboratories in the United States, Britain, and Canada during the Second World War, through its vital transformation in the international politicalarena during the first postwar decade, and culminates later in its maturation as a discipline through the commercialization of nuclear power, each stage of which entailed profound scientific, technical, institutional, educational, and sociopolitical consequences that affect our lives today." --Roger H. Stuewer, University of Minnesota