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The Neutron's ChildrenNuclear Engineers and the Shaping of Identity$
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Sean F. Johnston

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199692118

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692118.001.0001

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New knowledge for new purposes

New knowledge for new purposes

(p.19) 2 New knowledge for new purposes
The Neutron's Children

Sean F. Johnston

Oxford University Press

This chapter surveys the intellectual and geographical terrain of early nuclear energy and introduces themes that will be at the core of the book. In setting the scene, it argues that international nuclear science became a fertile and attractive field from the turn of the twentieth century, and one that quickly encouraged a close intermingling with application and commerce. But the technical environments seeded by the Second World War brought scientists into closer contact with engineers and gestated new expertise, allowing it to grow rapidly into exotic forms at a few locations. These wartime hot-houses fostered unique national visions and specialists collaborating in a domain variously dubbed ‘atomic energy’, ‘nucleonics’, and ‘nuclear engineering’.

Keywords:   radioactivity, international science, fission, World War II, nuclear physics, public engagement, application, engineering, administration, nuclear history

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