AUTHORFinkbeiner, Ann
TITLEThe Jasons: The Secret History of Science's Postwar Elite
CITYNew York, NY

This book sheds light on the secret world of the “Jasons,” an exclusive group of scientists who carry out independent research for some of the United States’ most powerful governmental organizations, including the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Defense (DOD). The author, a free-lance science writer, explores what the Jason group is, who its members are, and why they are in Jason. The book presents a series of stories that, while not an authoritative history of the group, convey a sense of its past and its purpose, as well as highlighting the conflicts that arise when scientific accomplishments spawn unintended technological and military applications. While the group exists predominately behind a veil of anonymity, the author managed to interview roughly half of the membership and draws on those interviews and other sources. When the group was started in the 1960s, initial Jasons were mainly physicists. Over the years they have worked on key nuclear programs such as nuclear weapons and delivery systems, nuclear test ban treaties, and the U.S. stockpile security program. While having grown more interdisciplinary in nature, Jasons continue to advocate responsible, humane use of scientific innovation and hold firmly to their status as "independent" science advisors. Members of the group include a number of Nobel laureates and veterans of the Manhattan Project. The final chapter lists important innovations and notable members of the Jasons.

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