Physics, Emotion, and the Scientific Self: Merle Tuve's Cold War

TitlePhysics, Emotion, and the Scientific Self: Merle Tuve's Cold War
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsWang, J
JournalHistorical Studies in the Natural Sciences
ISBN Number1939-1811
KeywordsCarnegie Institution of Washington, Cold War, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, EARTH-SCIENCES, History, History &amp, Merle A. Tuve, NATIONAL-SECURITY, OBJECTIVITY, PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE, Physicists, pure science, Science, scientific identity, scientific personae, selfhood, Social identity, UNITED-STATES

This essay brings together and builds upon histories of cold war American science and studies of objectivity, scientific personae, and the self by exploring the physicist Merle A. Tuve's career in the late 1940s and 1950s as a history of selfhood and the emotional dimensions of scientific identity. As director of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution of Washington after World War II, Tuve followed a convoluted path through the institutions, politics, identities, and sensibilities of science in the cold war, and he struggled to preserve a sense of meaning and identity centered on the humanistic and aesthetic possibilities of scientific inquiry in an era of rapidly growing instrumentalism. His predicament highlights not just the political and institutional shifts within postwar science, but also the intricate entanglements between feeling, selfhood, and the cold war order.