All of my work explores the international dimensions of science, technology, and the environment during the Cold War era.
At the moment I am exploring the collaboration between scientists and the military during the Cold War, as they tried to find ways to exploit knowledge of the natural environment to fight the next world war. My book project (under contract with Oxford), Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism, links our knowledge of the global environment to the strategic and scientific goals of large-scale surveillance and widespread death in the decades after 1945.
My newest project, Atomic Promises, explores how the International Atomic Energy Agency promoted agricultural uses of atomic energy in the developing world. It draws from the archival records of IAEA, the Food and Agricultural Organization, the World Health Organization, and many other personal and institutional records from several different countries.
- Poison in the Well: Radioactive Waste in the Oceans at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age (Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2008). Paperback edition 2009
- Oceanographers and the Cold War: Disciples of Marine Science (Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2005)
- Science in the Early Twentieth Century: an Encyclopedia (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2005)
ARTICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS
- “Fukushima and the Motifs of Nuclear History,” Environmental History 17:2 (2012), 285-299.
- “A Global Contamination Zone: Early Cold War Planning for Environmental Warfare,” in J. R. McNeill and Corinna R. Unger, ed., Environmental Histories of the Cold War (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 85-114.
- “Environmentalism for the Atlantic Alliance: NATO’s Experiment with the ‘Challenges of Modern Society,’” Environmental History 15:1 (2010), 54-75.
- “Let there be Light… and Bread: the United Nations, the Developing World, and Atomic Energy’s Green Revolution,” History and Technology 25 (2009), 25-48
- “Gods and Devils in the Details: Marine Pollution, Radioactive Waste, and an Environmental Regime circa 1972,” Diplomatic History 32 (2008), 539-560
- “Les Politiques de Coopération Scientifique Internationale, ou L’Abandon du ‘S’ dans le Sigle UNESCO,” in 60 Ans d’Histoire de L’UNESCO (Paris: UNESCO, 2007), 379-387
- “Mastery of Landscapes and Seascapes: Science at the Strategic Poles during the International Geophysical Year,” in Keith R. Benson and Helen M. Rozwadowski, ed., Extremes: Oceanography’s Adventures at the Poles. Sagamore Beach: Science History Publications, 2007, 201-225
- “‘A Dispassionate and Objective Effort:’ Negotiating the First Study on the Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation,” Journal of the History of Biology 40 (2007), 147-177
- “Exorcising Ghosts in the Age of Automation: United Nations Experts and Atoms for Peace,” Technology and Culture 47 (2006), 734–756
- “Hallowed Lords of the Sea: Scientific Authority and Radioactive Waste in the United States, Britain, and France,” Osiris 21 (2006), 209–228
- “Piercing the Iron Curtain: UNESCO, Marine Science, and the Legacy of the International Geophysical Year,” in P. Petitjean, V. Zharov, G. Glaser, J. Richardson, B. de Padirac, and G. Archibald, eds., Sixty Years of Science at UNESCO, 1946–2005 (Paris: UNESCO, 2006), 68-70.
- “Environmental Diplomacy in the Cold War: the Disposal of Radioactive Waste at Sea during the 1960s,” International History Review 24:2 (2002), 348–375
- “The Navy’s ‘Sophisticated’ Pursuit of Science: Undersea Warfare, the Limits of Internationalism, and the Utility of Basic Research, 1945–1956,” Isis 93:1 (2002), 1–27
- “La Mer au Centre de la Guerre Froide,” in La Science et La Guerre : 400 Ans d’Histoire Partagée (La Recherche hors série 7, 2002), 74–77. Translation: “The Sea at the Center of the Cold War,” in Science and War: 400 Years of Shared History
- “Science and North-South Sentiment: International Oceanography in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, 1950–1966,” Historisch-Meereskundliches Jahrbuch 8 (2001), 89–102
- “Visions of International Scientific Cooperation: the Case of Oceanic Science, 1920–1955,” Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy 38:4 (2000), 393–423
- “Science in Isolation: American Marine Geophysics Research, 1950–1968,” Physics in Perspective 2:3 (2000), 293–312