University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Twentieth Century Think Tank > How US science moved west: Boulder, Colorado and the development of US space sciences in mid-20th century America

How US science moved west: Boulder, Colorado and the development of US space sciences in mid-20th century America

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From being considered a ‘scientific Siberia’ in the 1940s, Boulder as a scientific centre represented an important transition of US science as it ‘moved west’ in the 20th century. The answer to this question lies in the complex confluence of individual scientific ambitions relating to sun-earth connection research, the pre and early Cold War context of science in the US, and political machinations at various levels of government. This presentation lays out the early phases of this transition process, and particularly focuses on the efforts of solar astronomer Walter Orr Roberts, Colorado Senator ‘Big Ed’ Johnson, the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, and others in bringing sun-earth science to Boulder in the late 1940s and early 1950s. This investigation thereby sheds some light on the process by which scientific/academic centres (or ‘peaks’) were created in the US west in the 20th century.

This talk is part of the Twentieth Century Think Tank series.

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