Winning the Davis Prize

I have scheduled this post ahead of time, because I can’t contain my enthusiasm, yet I’ve agreed to hold off talking about it until the prizewinners are announced. But I’m delighted to report that my book Arming Mother Nature has won the 2016 Helen Miles Davis and Watson Davis Prize, from the History of Science…

Scientists who Collaborate with the Military

  A memorable scene in the 1983 film The Dead Zone provides an ethical justification for actions that harm innocent people. The protagonist presents his friend and psychiatrist with a well-worn hypothetical query: If he could travel back in time to pre-Nazi Germany, would he kill the young Hitler? His friend responds cannily, “I’m a…

Wikileaks and Information Control

As a historian of science and technology, I am fascinated by Wikileaks.  But I’m also guilty of benefiting from it as a scholar, because I’ve used the cables for research in my work, much in the same way that I’ve used the Pentagon Papers for research.  As a scholar, it’s impossible to resist punching keywords…

Let's Get Realpolitik about the Global Environment

As we head into the London summer Olympics of 2012, we can pause to reflect upon  what happened four years ago in Beijing, as one of the world’s largest-scale polluters cleaned up its capital for the moment when all eyes were upon it.  It seems like we will see countless flashbacks of that memorable opening…

Finding Perspective on Nuclear Concerns

This was the cover story in my local paper, part of the flurry of media attention about my work after the Fukushima disaster.  I had very mixed emotions about gaining such local notoriety (something any scholar enjoys, especially when kids see their dad on the front page of the paper!), when the real hardship and…

Impact of Radiation on Ocean Water may be Seen in Long Term

Recently I was interviewed by a reporter for the China-focused newspaper The Epoch Times to discuss the Fukushima incident.  Here is the article, with a link to the whole thing (free to read): — Since the first explosion occurred at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 12, steam and smoke carrying radioactive…

What will our Energy Legacy Be?

I recently wrote an opinion piece for The Oregonian, in response to the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan.  Here is the start of it (with a link to the rest of it, which you can read for free).  Comments appreciated! The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan is a potent reminder of how vulnerable…