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A Nuclear Winter's TaleScience and Politics in the 1980s$
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Lawrence Badash

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262012720

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012720.001.0001

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Evaluation

Evaluation

Chapter:
(p.301) 21 Evaluation
Source:
A Nuclear Winter's Tale
Author(s):

Lawrence Badash

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262012720.003.0021

The nuclear winter phenomenon generated public interest much faster than most other scientific subjects and rapidly polarized those involved. Several congressional hearings were held, a number of lawmakers got involved, and the federal government made its own research and even used the Strategic Defense Initiative as a major argument to support its stand regarding nuclear war. It was evident that politics was at play in the nuclear winter debate. Nuclear winter was a product of scientific research initiated by scientists who did not work at nuclear weapons laboratories. These scientists relied on various scientific disciplines—from particle microphysics and atmospheric chemistry to weapons effects, volcanic eruptions, ozone depletion, fire and smoke studies, planetary studies, and dinosaur extinction—to reveal the potential effects of fires triggered by nuclear explosions. Thus, nuclear winter research was a clear illustration of the increasing interdisciplinarity of science.

Keywords:   nuclear winter, research, congressional hearings, politics, Strategic Defense Initiative, science, nuclear war, nuclear weapons, ozone depletion, fires

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