The twentieth century was one of astonishing change in science, especially as pursued in the United States. Against a backdrop of dramatic political and economic shifts brought by world wars, intermittent depressions, sporadic and occasionally massive increases in funding, and expanding private patronage, this scientific work fundamentally reshaped everyday life. Science and the American Century offers some of the most significant contributions to the study of the history of science, technology, and medicine during the twentieth century, all drawn from the pages of the journal Isis.
Fourteen essays from leading scholars are grouped into three sections, each presented in roughly chronological order. The first section charts several ways in which our knowledge of nature was cultivated, revealing how scientific practitioners and the public alike grappled with definitions of the "natural" as they absorbed and refracted global information. The essays in the second section investigate the changing attitudes and fortunes of scientists during and after World War II. The final section documents the intricate ways that science, as it advanced, became intertwined with social policies and the law.
This important and useful book provides a thoughtful and detailed overview for scholars and students of American history and the history of science, as well as for scientists and others who want to better understand modern science and science in America.
Sally Gregory Kohlstedt is professor in and chair of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine Program at the University of Minnesota. David Kaiser is the Germeshausen Professor in and department head of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.