Scientific Research In World War II : What scientists did in the war book cover
1st Edition

Scientific Research In World War II
What scientists did in the war

ISBN 9781138995956
Published February 29, 2016 by Routledge
268 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book seeks to explore how scientists across a number of countries managed to cope with the challenging circumstances created by World War II.

No scientist remained unaffected by the outbreak of WWII. As the book shows, there were basically two opposite ways in which the war encroached on the life of a scientific researcher. In some cases, the outbreak of the war led to engagement in research in support of a war-waging country; in the other extreme, it resulted in their marginalisation. The book, starting with the most marginalised scientist and ending with those fully engaged in the war-effort, covers the whole spectrum of enormously varying scientific fates. Distinctive features of the volume include:

  • a focus on the experiences of ‘ordinary’ scientists, rather than on figureheads like Oppenheimer or Otto Hahn
  • contributions from a range of renowned academics including Mark Walker, an authority in the field of science in World War II
  • a detailed study of the Netherlands during the German Occupation

This richly illustrated volume will be of major interest to researchers of the history of science, World War II, and Modern History.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Ordinary Scientists in Extraordinary Circumstances Ad Maas  Chapter 1.  The Mobilisation of Science and Science-Based Technology during the Second World War: A Comparative History Mark Walker  Chapter 2. To Work or Not to Work in War Research?: The Case of the Italian Physicist G.P.S. Occhialini during WWII Leonardo Gariboldi  Chapter 3. Scientific Research in the Second World War: The Case for Bacinol, Dutch Penicillin Marlene Burns  Chapter 4: Preventing Theft: The Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory in Wartime Dirk van Delft  Chapter 5: Electron Microscopy in Second World War Delft Marian Fournier  Chapter 6: "Splendid Isolation"?: Aviation Medicine in World War II Alexander von Lünen  Chapter 7: National Socialism, Human Genetics and Eugenics in the Netherlands 1940-1945 Stephen Snelders  Chapter 8: The Birth of a Modern Instrument and Its Development during World War II: Electron Microscopy in Germany from the 1930s to 1945  Falk Müller  Chapter 9: Aerodynamic Research at the Nationaal Luchtvaartlaboratorium (NLL) in Amsterdam under German Occupation during World War II  Florian Schmaltz  Chapter 10: Masa Takeuchi and His Involvement in the Japanese Nuclear Weapons Research Programme Masakatsu Yamazaki  Chapter 11: The Cyclotron and the War: Construction of the 60-inch Cyclotron in Japan Keiko Nagase-Reimer  Chapter 12: Forging a New Discipline: Reflections on the Wartime Infrastructure for Research and Development in Feedback Control in the US, UK, Germany and USSR  C. C. Bissell


Chapter 13: British cryptanalysis: the breaking of 'Fish' traffic

J. V. Field

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Ad Maas specialises in the history of physics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and in the Dutch and German scientific culture between 1750 and 1900. His published works have included a study on the 'Second Golden Age’ of the Dutch sciences and the engineering activities of Albert Einstein.

Hans Hooijmaijers is Head of Collections at Museum Boerhaave, Leiden, The Netherlands. He has worked as a Researcher at the Max Planck Institut für Stromungsforschung, Göttingen, the University of Groningen, and Museum Boerhaave.


"Each case study is very interesting; together, the studies shed considerable light on how scientists fare when forced to conduct research under wartime conditions.  Summing Up: Recommended.  All collections." - J. W. Dauben, CHOICE (November 2009)