The Niels Bohr Archive's Friday 20 June 2003, 10.15
History of Science Seminar Auditorium A, Niels Bohr Institute
Blegdamsvej 17, 2100 Copenhagen
School of History, Technology and Society
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, U.S.A.
"A History of Accelerator-Based Nuclear Physics in India (1938-1966)"
Instruments, accelerators in this case, can be seen as an archive of the
aspirations, position and negotiations of their makers and users. They can
effectively provide a tangible anchor to explore the scientific culture of
the period in question. Accelerator-building activity in India began in
1940, and was carried out at various locations with varied trajectories.
This talk will discuss four such facilities within the period from
1938-1966. The period is interesting because it lies at the intersection of
India's transition from a colony to an independent nation-state, the rising
international prominence of physics and nuclear physics, and the Second
World War followed by the Cold War. The history of physics laboratories and
research in India is inextricably linked with institutions, instruments and
people outside its boundaries, notably with North America and Western
Europe. Indian physicists, many of whom were trained in these countries,
looked for ways to participate in research on the emerging frontiers of big
science and also to enroll the support of their American and European
counterparts in research and infrastructure building in India.