lec11bernalpolanyi

lec11bernalpolanyi - Ideals of Research and of Society...

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Ideals of Research and of Society (USSR and the West) 1 The Soviets build a Bomb 2 The Great Depression and the Soviet model of practical science 3 Economic and scientific systems 4 Bernal: science (mobilized) and socialism 5 Polanyi: The spontaneous harmonies of science and of a free economy.
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Foreword: Totalitarianism and Liberty? Is totalitarianism possible, or does it breed chaos? Collectivizing the USSR, Redeeming and rearming Germany. Comparative experience of war. National accounting, for example. Science and wartime planning, and the planning of science. Potsdam, 1945 Forward!!
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1 The Soviet Nuclear Project Igor Kurchatov, a physicist, decided in 1932 to work on radioactivity. It was a risky move, since science had been subordinated to Soviet industrialization. The splitting of the atom in 1938 began to change this, but slowly. (After the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939, Stalin trusted his German ally.)
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What Soviet physicists knew In 1939 and 1940, the Soviets followed and contributed to the new scientific literature on nuclear fission. In 1940 they recognized the possibility of a chain reaction, and when Western physics periodicals stopped discussing nuclear fission, some suspected that there must be a military project going on. In 1941, two Russian physicists calculated that a bomb could be made with about 10 kg. of U235.
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Building the Bomb The Soviets began work on the bomb urgently in 1945. They had received fairly specific plans from British spy Klaus Fuchs, which Kurchatov followed closely. Still, it was immensely expensive. Much of the work was done by prison labor, half a million workers, exposed to poisonous quantities of uranium. The effort required expenditures comparable to those in the US, by a much poorer country still suffering terribly from war.
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“On October 29 [1949] the Council of Ministers adopted a secret decree, signed by Stalin, granting honors and awards to those who had taken part in the
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This note was uploaded on 02/19/2011 for the course HIST 3C taught by Professor Porter during the Fall '07 term at UCLA.

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lec11bernalpolanyi - Ideals of Research and of Society...

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