5 September 2018 from 16:15 to 17:15

PhD defence of Friso Hoeneveld

Fundamental physical and military research by Dutch physicists during the early Cold War

The atombombs of August 1945 had made scientists and politicians aware of the powerful co n sequences of applied and fundamental nuclear physics. In the Netherlands, both state officials and physi cists felt a deep sense of urgency to make fast and significant contrib u- tions to physics in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. The level of activity of the physicists in organizing is striking, compared to their colleagues in other scientific disc i- plines or to the (pre - )war period. The change in Dutch policies is just as surprising, co m- pared to the slow start of the Institute for Applied Research (TNO) before the war. In 1945 Prime Minister Schermerhorn was personally involved in the founding of the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM), which became the leading post - war funding orga n- isation for physics. Within a few years, Dutch physics would regain some of the prestige and power it had enjoyed in its second golden age around 190 0. It assured itself long term fina n- cial resources that lasted for decades. Why did the Dutch Government act so fast, so decisively and so generously to su p- port fundamental research amid the rubble of war? How were the physicists able to set up such a str ong and effective lobby and what was their research agenda? The shaping of Dutch 'Big Science' in the early years of the Cold War is not a story of academics and decision ma k- ers alone. Large scale research arose in close interaction with corporate industri es (e.g. Philips' NatLab, BPM), international military infrastru c ture (NATO) and European research projects like CERN. Under the new 'organization and management' of physics enterprises were cr e ated that faced the paradox of secrecy and freedom in science. In what manner did the physicists, leaving their ivory towers, deal with possible conflicting issues as a heigh t- ened sense of moral responsibility, generous funding and growing international tension?

Start date and time
5 September 2018 16:15
End date and time
5 September 2018 17:15
PhD candidate
drs. F. Hoeneveld
Een vinger in de Amerikaanse pap: fundamenteel fysisch en militair onderzoek in Nederland tijdens de vroege Koude Oorlog
PhD supervisor(s)
prof. dr. J.A.E.F. van Dongenprof. dr. L.T.G. Theunissen