Implanting a Discipline: The Academic Trajectory of Nuclear Engineering in the USA and UK

Minerva 47 (1):51-73 (2009)

Sean F. Johnston
University of Glasgow
The nuclear engineer emerged as a new form of recognised technical professional between 1940 and the early 1960s as nuclear fission, the chain reaction and their applications were explored. The institutionalization of nuclear engineering channelled into new national laboratories and corporate design offices during the decade after the war, and hurried into academic venues thereafter proved unusually dependent on government definition and support. This paper contrasts the distinct histories of the new discipline in the USA and UK (and, more briefly, Canada). In the segregated and influential environments of institutional laboratories and factories, historical actors such as physicist Walter Zinn in the USA and industrial chemist Christopher Hinton in the UK proved influential in shaping the roles and perceptions of nuclear specialists. More broadly, I argue that the State-managed implantation of the new subject within further and higher education curricula was shaped strongly by distinct political and economic contexts in which secrecy, postwar prestige and differing industrial cultures were decisive factors.
Keywords sociology of professions  history of nuclear energy
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Rise of Nuclear Fear.Spencer R. Weart - 2012 - Harvard University Press.
Nuclear Ethics.S. Nye Joseph - 1986 - Free Press.
Non-Nuclear Futures: The Case for an Ethical Energy Strategy.Lovins Amory Bloch & H. Price John - 1975 - Friends of the Earth International ; Cambridge, Mass : Ballinger Publishing Company.


Added to PP index

Total views
69 ( #126,981 of 2,286,101 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
52 ( #17,135 of 2,286,101 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature