Article

Science and Technology in War

William J. Astore

in Military History

ISBN: 9780199791279
Published online February 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199791279-0054
Science and Technology in War

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  • Military History
  • Pre-20th Century Warfare
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Science, technology, and warfare exist in a nexus of dependencies and possibilities. Science may be defined as organized knowledge; technology, as applied knowledge; and warfare, as organized violence. But warfare generates chaos, leading to unpredictability, uncertainty, and even irrationality. The rationality associated with science and technology rests uneasily with the chaos of war. That said, as long as humans have fought, they have sought advantages in speed, firepower, protection, reach, and similar qualities amenable to enhancements by rational methods of science and engineering. Some of history’s best minds––Archimedes of Syracuse, Leonardo da Vinci, J. Robert Oppenheimer––devoted much of their lives working as military engineers or scientists. The challenge is to situate science, technology, warfare and its practitioners into broader historical and social contexts, thereby revealing linkages to political structures, economic concerns, logistical and material considerations, and moral beliefs and constraints.

Article.  8896 words. 

Subjects: Military History ; Pre-20th Century Warfare ; First World War ; Second World War ; Post-WW2 Military History

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