Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Hybrid knowledge: the transnational co-production of the gas centrifuge for uranium enrichment in the 1960s

  • JOHN KRIGE (a1)

The ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of knowledge circulation is explored in a study of the encounter between American and British nuclear scientists and engineers who together developed a gas centrifuge to enrich uranium in the 1960s. A fine-grained analysis of the transnational encounter reveals that the ‘how’ engages a wide variety of sometimes mundane modes of exchange in a series of face-to-face interactions over several years. The ‘why’ is driven by the reciprocal wish to improve the performance of the centrifuge, though this motive is embedded in the asymmetric field of the ‘special relationship’ in nuclear matters between the United Kingdom and the United States. The result of the encounter is co-produced, hybrid knowledge in which the national provenance of the contributions from each side of the Atlantic is at once diluted and a contested site for the affirmation of national power.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

C.A. Bayly , Sven Beckert , Matthew Connelly , Isabel Hofmeyr , Wendy Kozol and Patricia Seed , ‘AHR conversation: on transnational history’, American Historical Review (2006) 111, pp. 14411464

Akira Iriya and Pierre-Yves Saunier (eds.), The Palgrave Dictionary of Transnational History from the Mid-19th Century to the Present Day, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009

Thomas Bender (ed.), Rethinking American History in a Global Age, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002

Ian Tyrell , ‘American exceptionalism in an age of international history’, American Historical Review (1991) 96, pp. 10311055

Michael McGerr , ‘The price of the “new transnational history”’, American Historical Review (1991) 96, pp. 10561067

James A. Secord , ‘Knowledge in transit’, Isis (2004) 95, pp. 654672, 655

David Arnold , ‘Europe, technology and colonialism in the 20th Century’, History and Technology (2005) 21, pp. 85106

Marie-Noëlle Bourguet , Christian Licoppe and H. Otto Sibum , Instruments, Travel and Science: Itineraries of Precision from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century, London: Routledge, 2002

Kostas Gavroglu , ‘Science and technology in the European periphery: some historiographical reflections’, History of Science (2008) 46, pp. 153175

David N. Livingstone , Putting Science in Its Place: Geographies of Scientific Knowledge, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003

Rob Kroes , ‘American empire and cultural imperialism: a view from the receiving end’, Diplomatic History (1999) 23, pp. 463477

John Baylis , ‘Exchanging nuclear secrets: laying the foundations of the Anglo-American nuclear relationship’, Diplomatic History (2001) 25, pp. 3361

John Baylis , Ambiguity and Deterrence: British Nuclear Strategy 1950–1964, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995

Ian Clark , Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship: Britain's Deterrent and America, 1957–1962, Oxford: Clarendon, 1994

Richard Moore , Nuclear Illusion, Nuclear Reality: Britain, the United States and Nuclear Weapons 1958–1964, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010

Zuoyue Wang , ‘Transnational science during the Cold War: the case of Chinese/American Scientists’, Isis (June 2010) 101, pp. 367377

Stephen Twigge , ‘A baffling experience: technology transfer, Anglo-American nuclear relations, and the development of the gas centrifuge, 1964–1970’, History and Technology (2003) 19, pp. 151163

David Edgerton , ‘The White Heat revisited: British government and technology in the 1960s’, Twentieth Century British History (1996) 7, pp. 5382

S. Whitley , ‘The uranium centrifuge’, Physics in Technology (1979) 10, pp. 2633

Peter Galison , ‘Removing knowledge’, Critical Inquiry (2004) 31, pp. 229243

Steven Shapin , ‘Rarely pure and never simple: talking about truth’, Configurations (1999) 7, pp. 114, 67

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The British Journal for the History of Science
  • ISSN: 0007-0874
  • EISSN: 1474-001X
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-for-the-history-of-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 39 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 145 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.