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Stalin's Great Science : The Times And Adventures Of Soviet Physicists - Alexei B. Kojevnikov

Stalin's Great Science

The Times And Adventures Of Soviet Physicists

Hardcover Published: 10th June 2004
ISBN: 9781860944192
Number Of Pages: 384

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World-class science and technology developed in the Soviet Union during Stalin's dictatorial rule under conditions of political violence, lack of international contacts, and severe restrictions on the freedom of information. Stalin's Great Science: The Times and Adventures of Soviet Physicists is an invaluable book that investigates this paradoxical success by following the lives and work of Soviet scientists - including Nobel Prize-winning physicists Kapitza, Landau, and others - throughout the turmoil of wars, revolutions, and repression that characterized the first half of Russia's twentieth century. The book examines how scientists operated within the Soviet political order, communicated with Stalinist politicians, built a new system of research institutions, and conducted groundbreaking research under extraordinary circumstances. Some of their novel scientific ideas and theories reflected the influence of Soviet ideology and worldview and have since become accepted universally as fundamental concepts of contemporary science. In the process of making sense of the achievements of Soviet science, the book dismantles standard assumptions about the interaction between science, politics, and ideology, as well as many dominant stereotypes - mostly inherited from the Cold War - about Soviet history in general. Science and technology were not only granted unprecedented importance in Soviet society, but they also exerted a crucial formative influence on the Soviet political system itself. Unlike most previous studies, Stalin's Great Science recognizes the status of science as an essential element of the Soviet polity and explores the nature of a special relationship between experts (scientists and engineers) and communist politicians that enabled the initial rise of the Soviet state and its mature accomplishments, until the pact eroded in later years, undermining the communist regime from within.

Industry Reviews

"Kojevnikov makes his case that Soviet physicists learned to use the system to promote their interests and those of their science, and that the system in turn informed and influenced their work ... Highly recommended."Choice"There is an excellent history of many of the major developments in physics attributed to Soviet scientists and mathematicians, with much of the debate between eminent specialists recorded, showing the vacillation of ideas often dominated by the personalities involved ... the book provides a well researched and interesting background to some of the major developments in physics in the years from 1920 to 1950."Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry"Kojevnikov does an excellent job of describing how the radical scientific breakthroughs of the early twentieth century found parallels with the social changes that were beginning to occur."Ab Imperio

The Great War and the invention of Soviet sciencep. 1
Socialist, or big, sciencep. 23
Freedom, collectivism, and electronsp. 47
Lev Landau's Wanderjahre, or theoretical physics in the context of cultural revolutionp. 73
Scientist under Stalin's patronage : the case of Piotr Kapitzap. 99
"To catch up and to surpass ..."p. 126
President of Stalin's academy : the mask and responsibility of Sergei Vavilovp. 158
Games of Soviet democracyp. 186
Modernist science, ideological passionsp. 217
Collective excitationsp. 245
Dialogues about knowledge and power in totalitarian political culturep. 276
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781860944192
ISBN-10: 1860944191
Series: History Of Modern Physical Sciences
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 10th June 2004
Publisher: Imperial College Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.66