Science and Technology in Postwar Europe

Andrew Jamison

in The Oxford Handbook of Postwar European History

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199560981
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Science and Technology in Postwar Europe

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  • History
  • European History
  • Contemporary History (Post 1945)
  • Industrial History



In the decades that have followed World War II, science and technology have come to play ever more central roles in the lives and life worlds of Europeans. Indeed, in the twenty-first century there is very little that goes on in Europe without there being at least some influence from science and technology. Europe has become a place where scientific ‘facts’ and technical ‘artifacts’ permeate our existence. They have infiltrated our languages, altered our behaviour, changed our habits, and, perhaps most fundamentally, imposed their instrumental logic – what philosophers call technological rationality – on our social interaction and the ways in which we communicate with one another. The advent of industrialisation led to the formation of a number of new scientific and engineering fields – thermodynamics, biochemistry, public health, electrical engineering, city planning, among others – and new forms of higher education and communication. This article focuses on science and technology in postwar Europe, and looks at postwar reconstruction, reform, and the age of commercialisation.

Keywords: science and technology; Europe; industrialisation; higher education; communication; postwar reconstruction; reform; commercialisation

Article.  9417 words. 

Subjects: History ; European History ; Contemporary History (Post 1945) ; Industrial History

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