Exploring Ice and Snow in the Cold War

Exploring Ice and Snow in the Cold War
27-29 janvier 2011
Munich (Allemagne)

The scientific exploration of extreme climatic conditions and hostile environments flourished during the Cold War. In the course of these years of confrontation between East and West, research on ‘the cold’ served ambivalent purposes. On the one hand, increasing knowledge about extreme climatic conditions seemed to guarantee political power and access to future resources. One the other hand, the very nature of the earth’s surface and its characteristics challenged dichotomous ideologies of ‘East’ and ‘West’. Events like the International Geophysical Year (1957-1958) structured global efforts to investigate the world as a whole. Spatial images of the ‘blue planet’ can be seen to be a result of the environmental knowledge gained through earth sciences. As the earth’s climate influenced many aspects of human life, culture, and politics, the scientific perception of ice and snow needed to be investigated from different perspectives. Scientific disciplines such as meteorology, geophysics, glaciology and oceanography were part of the exploration of ice and snow.

This workshop is interested in new research projects at the interface of environmental history, military history and the history of science and technology to contribute to the discussion on the scientific perception and constitution of nature in the Cold War.


14:30  Opening Remarks: Christof Mauch (Rachel Carson Center, Munich), Helmuth Trischler (Rachel Carson Center / Deutsches Museum, Munich)

15:00  Keynote: Sverker Soerlin (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm), “The Birth of Cryohistory: The 2007 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum as an Event and the Slow Growth Legacies of Glacial Decline”

Environmental Knowledge

Chair: Helmuth Trischler (Rachel Carson Center / Deutsches Museum, Munich)

16:30  Roger D. Launius (National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.), “Creating Open Territorial Rights in Cold and Icy Places: Cold War Rivalries and the Antarctic and Outer Space Treaties”

17:15  Ron Doel (Florida State University, Tallahassee), “Constituting the Arctic Environment: Military Funding, Polar Warming, and the Rise of the Physical Environmental Sciences”

18:15  Peder Roberts (University of Strasburg), “Meteorology on the Margins of the World: Norway, South Africa, and Bouvetøya in the Early Cold War”

19:00  Film by Sophie Elixhauser (University of Aberdeen / Universität Augsburg) and Anni Seitz, Sermiligaaq 65°54’N, 36°22’W (Greenland)


Cold Spaces: Greenland

Chair: Sophie Elixhauser (University of Aberdeen / Universität Augsburg)

9:00  Matthias Heymann (Aarhus University), “Exploring Greenland: Denmark, the US Military, and Technology in the Cold War”

9:45  Ingo Heidbrink (Rachel Carson Center, Munich / Old Dominion University, Norfolk), “‘Camp Century’ and ‘Project Ice-Worm’: Two Experimental US Military Facilities on Greenland during the Early Years of the Cold War”

Sites of Knowledge: Laboratories

Chair: Christian Kehrt (Helmut Schmidt Universität, Hamburg)

11:00  Dania Achermann (DLR, Oberpfaffenhofen), “Snow and Avalanche Research as Patriotic Duty? The Institutionalization of a Scientific Discipline in Switzerland”

11:45  Sebastian Grevesmühl (Centre Alexandre Koyré, Paris), “Deconstructing Laboratory Visions of Antarctic Research since 1900”

Sites of Knowledge: Practices ‘East’

Chair: Julia Herzberg (Rachel Carson Center, Munich)

14:00  John McCannon (University of Saskatchewan), “Soviet Arctic Science 1945-1953”

14:45  Pey-Yi-Chu (Princeton University), “From Merzlotovedenie to Geocryology: Soviet Permafrost Science in the Cold War”

Sites of Knowledge: Practices ‘West’

Chair: Frank Uekötter (Rachel Carson Center, Munich)

16:00  Cornelia Lüdecke (Rachel Carson Center, Munich / SCAR), “Traditions in German Arctic Research”

16:45  Christian Kehrt (Helmut Schmidt Universität, Hamburg), “EGIG I and German Polar Research Traditions”

17:30  Anne M. Jensen/ Glenn W. Sheehan (Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation Science Division, Barrow / Barrow Arctic Science Consortium), “Inupiat and Cold War Science in Alaska / Cold Arctic, Cold War”


Representations: Metaphors and narrations

Chair: Franziska Torma (Rachel Carson Center, Munich)

9:00   Pascal Schillings (Universität zu Köln), “An Exploration of the Self, Reinhold Messner’s Antarctic Expedition 1989”

9:45  Mark Wasiuta (Columbia University, New York), “Distant Early Warning North”

Representations II: Actors and their Environment

Chair: Julia Landau (Ruhr-Universität, Bochum)

11:00  JamesR. Fleming (Colby College, Waterville), “Cold Regions and Cold War: Harry Wexler as Scientific ‘Entrepreneur'”

11:45  Franziska Torma (Rachel Carson Center, Munich), “Staging ‘the Cold’ as Environment: Jacques-Yves and Philippe Cousteau’s Journey to Antarctica (1975/1976)”

12:30  Paul Josephson (Colby College, Waterville), Final Discussion and Comments

Contact : Franziska Torma (franziska.torma@carsoncenter.lmu.de)

Pour en savoir plus : http://www.carsoncenter.uni-muenchen.de/events_conf_seminars/calendar/ice_and_snow/index.html

Emilia Robin

Chercheuse associée à l'UMR SIRICE. Violons d'Ingres : guerre froide, médiation scientifique, logiciels libres

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