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Science and Technology in the Global Cold War$
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Naomi Oreskes and John Krige

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027953

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027953.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

Atomic Tracings:

Atomic Tracings:

Radioisotopes in Biology and Medicine

Chapter:
(p.30) (p.31) 2 Atomic Tracings
Source:
Science and Technology in the Global Cold War
Author(s):

Angela N. H. Creager

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027953.003.0002

The U.S. government developed atomic energy for peacetime after World War II in the form of radioactive isotopes, produced in a former Manhattan Project reactor and distributed to civilian purchasers. These radioisotopes provided physicians with new tools of diagnosis and therapy and equipped biologists to trace molecular transformations from metabolic pathways to ecosystems. This chapter juxtaposes postwar developments in biochemistry, nuclear medicine, and ecology growing out of this new supply of radioisotopes. In each of these areas, one can see how government policy and infrastructure integral to the Cold War decisively shaped scientific opportunities and knowledge. Routine practices of radiolabeling and radiotracing remained in place long after the positive political valence of radioisotopes dimmed in the 1960s and 1970s, in the wake of the debates over radioactive contamination of the environment from atomic weapons tests and nuclear waste.

Keywords:   Radioisotopes, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), Manhattan Project, Cyclotrons, Human Experimentation, Photosynthesis, Nuclear Medicine, Ecosystems

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