Stalin's great science: the times and adventures of Soviet physicists

TitleStalin's great science: the times and adventures of Soviet physicists
Publication TypeBook
AuthorsKojevnikov, A
PublisherImperial College Press
CityLondon, England
9781860944192, 9781860944208, 1860944205, 9781860946011, 1860946011, 1860944191
History, Joseph, Nuclear physicists, Nuclear physicists – Soviet Union, PHYSICS, Science, Science and state, Science and state – Soviet Union, Science – Soviet Union – History, Stalin

World-class science and technology developed in the Soviet Unionduring Stalin's dictatorial rule under conditions of politicalviolence, lack of international contacts, and severe restrictions onthe freedom of information. Stalin's Great Science: The Times andAdventures of Soviet Physicists is an invaluable book thatinvestigates this paradoxical success by following the lives and workof Soviet scientists - including Nobel Prize-winning physicistsKapitza, Landau, and others - throughout the turmoil of wars,revolutions, and repression that characterized the first half ofRussia's twentieth century.The book examines how scientists operated within the Soviet politicalorder, communicated with Stalinist politicians, built a new system ofresearch institutions, and conducted groundbreaking research underextraordinary circumstances. Some of their novel scientific ideas andtheories reflected the influence of Soviet ideology and worldview andhave since become accepted universally as fundamental concepts ofcontemporary science. In the process of making sense of theachievements of Soviet science, the book dismantles standardassumptions about the interaction between science, politics, andideology, as well as many dominant stereotypes - mostly inheritedfrom the Cold War - about Soviet history in general. Science andtechnology were not only granted unprecedented importance in Sovietsociety, but they also exerted a crucial formative influence on theSoviet political system itself. Unlike most previous studies,Stalin's Great Science recognizes the status of science as anessential element of the Soviet polity and explores the nature of aspecial relationship between experts (scientists and engineers) andcommunist politicians that enabled the initial rise of the Sovietstate and its mature accomplishments, until the pact eroded in lateryears, undermining the communist regime from within.