The Politics of Seismology

  title={The Politics of Seismology},
  author={Kai‐Henrik Barth},
  journal={Social Studies of Science},
  pages={743 - 781}
  • K. Barth
  • Published 1 October 2003
  • Geology
  • Social Studies of Science
The present paper analyzes the transformation of seismology from a small academic discipline to a large academic-military-industrial enterprise during the 1960s. In the late 1950s scientists, diplomats, and policy-makers recognized that improved seismological knowledge was crucial for the detection and identification of Soviet underground nuclear-weapon tests. Consequently, the Eisenhower administration initiated a comprehensive research and development program in seismology, known as Project… 
Maurice Ewing, Frank Press, and the long-period seismographs at Lamont and Caltech
The name attached to a scientific instrument may identify the scientist(s) who contributed most to its design or, as was the case with the first successful long-period seismographs, the scientist(s)
“In God We Trust, All Others We Monitor”: Seismology, Surveillance, and the Test Ban Negotiations
During the second half of the twentieth century, seismologists gained a greater understanding of how waves produced by seismic events travel across the inner earth and reach distant places. Stations
On the Cold War and the Earth Sciences
Among the many effects of the Cold War was a profound reconfiguration of the disciplines, institutions, and practices used to understand the Earth. With the advent of warfare on a planetary scale the
Sword, Shield and Buoys: A History of the NATO Sub-Committee on Oceanographic Research, 1959–19731
  • S. Turchetti
  • History
    Centaurus; international magazine of the history of science and medicine
  • 2012
It is shown how the alliance's naval commands played a key role in the sub-committee's creation due to the importance of oceanographic research in the tracking of enemy submarines, and its activities in light of NATO's naval defence strategies are considered.
Citizen Seismology, Stalinist Science, and Vladimir Mannar’s Cold Wars
This essay takes a historical view on “citizen science” by exploring its socialist version via the case of a Soviet amateur seismologist Vladimir Mannar. In the wake of the 1948 Ashgabat earthquake,
Seismology and the International Geophysical Year
The International Geophysical Year (IGY) began in July 1957, and ended in December 1958, inspiring an irascible cartoon turtle to ask, “Well, if you scientists can't figure how long a year is any
SISIS ABSTRACT The internationalization of Antarctica as a continent for science with
the Antarctic Treaty (1961) was heralded as bringing about international cooperation and the free exchange of data. However, both national rivalry and proprietorship of data, in varying degrees,
A benchmark for the environment: big science and ‘artificial’ geophysics in the global 1950s
Security concerns during the early Cold War prompted United States strategists to solicit worldwide assistance in studying Earth’s physical environment. Comprehensive geophysical knowledge required
Accidents and opportunities: a history of the radio echo-sounding of Antarctica, 1958–79
Abstract This paper explores the history of radio echo-sounding (RES), a technique of glaciological surveying that from the late 1960s has been used to examine Antarctica's sub-glacial morphology.


The History of the International Seismological Summary
Without belittling the important contributions to the early growth of earthquake science by a number of countries of the world, it is fair to say that the International Seismological Summary
The need for fundamental research in seismology: A summary of the report of the panel on seismic improvement
Before an agreement to suspend nuclear weapons tests can be reached the problem of detecting violations must be resolved. Seismology offers the only means for detecting the occurrenceof an
Geophysics in the Affairs of Mankind
Scientists have long been trained to build on the successes or failures of their predecessors, their teachers, and their fellows largely through scientific associations and their publications. Such
The early history of seismometry (to 1900)
Abstract The earliest seismoscope was invented in 132 A.D., by Chang Heng. Seismoscopes of limited effectiveness were used by Bina and others in the eighteenth century. The middle nineteenth century
Shocks and rocks : seismology in the plate tectonics revolution : the story of earthquakes and the great earth science revolution of the 1960s
The American Geophysical Union's history committee continues to play a vital role in documenting the growth of geophysics. In this attractive, largely autobiographical book, Volume 6 of the History
Nineteenth Century Earthquake Investigations in California
In 1850 Philip Thomas Tyson observed that earthquakes of great energy must have occurred in very recent geological periods in the Coast Range of California. A few years later, in 1856, Dr. John
California Earthquakes: Science, Risk, and the Politics of Hazard Mitigation
All members of EERI will find this book a valuable and interesting read. It covers the highlights of last century, with summary discussions before and after. In it you will find succinct accounts of
Seismology and the new global tectonics