Implanting industrial cultures

Sean F. Johnston

in The Neutron's Children

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199692118
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740732 | DOI:
Implanting industrial cultures

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Wartime experiences seeded the new nuclear specialists, and these environments gestated their post-war opportunities. The laboratories and production sites merged industrial and scientific cultures. Hybrids—neither engineers nor scientists of the pre-war pattern—were bred and nurtured there. In each country, the mix of industry and science was different, and led to distinct versions of expertise. The Anglo-Canadian project brought together scientists and engineers from universities and the National Research Council with support from Britain's largest chemical company, ICI. In the USA, Du Pont engineers shared an uneasy responsibility for developing nuclear reactors alongside scientists of the University of Chicago's Met Lab. The working contexts fostered new know-how and introduced disputes about competence and authority. The viability of the new breeds remained disputed through the war and beyond. Disputes between established disciplines—especially physics and chemical engineering—initially ceded no territory to upstart experts.

Keywords: Imperial Chemical Industries; National Research Council of Canada; Du Pont; Manhattan Project; atomic piles; nuclear history; industrial culture

Chapter.  20503 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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