University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science > 'In God we trust, all others we monitor': seismology and international affairs during the Cold War

'In God we trust, all others we monitor': seismology and international affairs during the Cold War

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Although seismology is primarily concerned with the study of earthquakes, its expansion during the Cold War depended on using seismic instrumentation to monitor the advancement of nuclear weapons programmes. Several historians have looked extensively at these developments focussing especially on how they overlapped negotiations on nuclear testing. In this paper I seek to expand on this literature by analyzing the uses of seismology for intelligence-gathering purposes. I thus suggest that as information-seeking was the priority for some of the key actors involved in negotiating a test ban, the striking of an international moratorium was made conditional upon this urgency. In fact these intelligence activities represented a major obstacle to the signing of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and deeply affected international relations during the Cold War period.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science series.

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