Symposium 12

The Material Culture of Nuclear Diplomacy

Maria Rentetzi | National Technical University of Athens
Kenji Ito | SOKENDAI, Japan
Hsiu-Yun Wang | National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan


Chairs: Maria Rentetzi, Kenji Ito & Hsiu-Yun Wang

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Morning Session | 09:00-11:00
Venue: Marasleio Room 3

Kenji Ito | A Two-Sided Study of Diplomacy over Nuclear Material: The Shipment of Radioisotopes from the United States to Japan in 1950

Shinsuke Tomotsugu | The Beginning of Japanese Atoms for Peace Cooperation toward Asian Countries

Hsiu-Yun Wang | The Mobile Laboratory in Taiwan in 1960s

Florence Fröhlig | Fessenheim – a nuclear power plant for peace

Noon Session | 11:30-13:30
Venue: Marasleio Room 3

Maria Rentetzi | Godofredo and Francoise Travel Together: Science Diplomacy and the Material Culture of the IAEA

Clara Florensa | Radioactive Materials, Nuclear Diplomacy and Construction of Invisibility of Nuclear Risk in the Palomares Accident (Spain 1966)

Ana Romero de Pablos | Spanish Uranium: a Round Trip

Loukas Freris, Mirto Dimitrokali and Maria Rentetzi | The Materiality of Science Diplomacy: The Use of Film Badge Dosimeters for Personnel Monitoring in Post-War Greece

About the Symposium

In the early 1960s two mobile laboratories, a property of the International Atomic Energy Agency, toured Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America in order to train young physicists in the use of radioisotopes in medicine, nuclear science, and technology. A number of developed countries donated nuclear reactors and bargained uranium in several cases with a long list of developing countries worldwide. Indeed, radioactive materials and nuclear technologies, sometimes as gifts and others as precious commodities, have constantly changed hands following complex bilateral and multilateral diplomatic negotiations. We have for long known that materials matter. Despite the fact that scientific artifacts have played crucial roles in diplomatic negotiations, historians of science have invested little attention on the material culture of science diplomacy. Objects are not merely ‘alternative sources’ that can complement documentary materials in answering the questions posed by the history of nuclear sciences. They are primarily involved and affect the ways science and diplomacy are co-constructed.
This session is concerned with the relationship between artifacts and nuclear diplomacy and aims to systematically explore the linkage between the use of science as a diplomatic tool and the role of materials and artifacts as diplomatic assets in crucial political negotiations. Papers included here explore the ways the material aspects of nuclear science conditioned post-war diplomacy. We focus on unique and often overlooked radioactive materials and nuclear artifacts. By following objects, over time and across, they reveal the specificities of diplomatic practices and the role of scientific knowledge in diplomatic negotiations.