AUTHORWestwick, Peter J.
TITLEThe National Labs: Science in an American System, 1947-1974
PUBLISHERHarvard University Press
CITYCambridge, MA

This book considers the system of national science laboratories in the United States during a portion of the Cold War. It seeks to compensate for a gap in previously published literature, paying particular attention to the structure of the laboratory system and the interactions between the laboratories.The author argues that the specialization and diversification facilitated by the laboratory system resulted in valuable methodological as well as intellectual contributions to American science. Furthermore, he explains how the national laboratories helped define the relationship between science and the government, as science garnered greater attention and importance in American society after World War II. The author uses the laboratories to consider how the needs of national security dictate the course of scientific research, ultimately viewing the labs as a reflection of the political climate and a manifestation of American political ideology during the Cold War. The book is divided into four sections, the first outlining the framework of the system, the second describing the external forces influencing the laboratories, the third explaining specialization and diversification in the laboratories, and the fourth offering conclusions. Also included are two appendices containing the operating budgets of the laboratories from 1948 through 1966 and in 1973.

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