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John Krige, visiting professor of the Master in History of Science (UAB-UB)

Historian of science John Krige, Kranzberg Professor at Georgia's Institute of Technology, lectured in the course 'From Frankenstein to Einstein: contemporary science and society'
CEHIC 01/07/2008

In early June, 2008, John Krige, a historian specializing in the second half of the Twentieth Century, gave four lectures for the module ‘From Frankenstein to Einstein: contemporary science and society’. The sessions were held in the Seminar room of the CEHIC, and were attended not only by students taking the Masters in the History of science: science, history and society, but also by other members of the centre with an interest in listening to one of the most renowned historians alive today.

John Krige specializes in the role of science and technology in the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. Years ago he directed several studies of the history of the CERN and the European Space Agency. More recently, his research has focused on the use of science and technology as instruments of US foreign policy during the Cold War. In 2006, he published Hegemony and Postwar Reconstruction of Science in Europe, edited by the MIT Press, which formed the basis for one of the lectures he offered during his visit.

The subjects covered in the four sessions were all related to Krige’s research experience as a historian. The first was devoted to critically assessing the use of interviews as a research tool by historians of contemporary science, reflecting on the advantages and disadvantages of having access to the historical actors to which the research directly relates. The second session dealt with the commercialization of academic research and the economy of science. In the third session, the participants discussed Krige’s book on the scientific reconstruction of Europe after World War II, as well as its role in the consolidation of US hegemony. The final session focused on US efforts to deviate European nuclear research from military programs to civil ones.

The students received bibliographical material related to each session, the reading of which facilitated their participation in the debates. Professor Krige’s visit was made possible thanks to a grant from the Ministry of Education and Science, awarded in the context of the Mention of Quality held by the Interuniversity PhD in the History of Science (UB-UAB).