Building the General Relativity and Gravitation Community During the Cold War

  • Roberto Lalli

Part of the SpringerBriefs in History of Science and Technology book series (BRIEFSHIST)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Roberto Lalli
    Pages 1-6
  3. Roberto Lalli
    Pages 35-73
  4. Roberto Lalli
    Pages 75-127
  5. Roberto Lalli
    Pages 129-140
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 141-168

About this book


This monograph presents a new perspective on the history of general relativity. It outlines the attempts to establish an institutional framework for the promotion of the field during the Cold War. Readers will learn the difficulties that key figures experienced and overcame during this period of global conflict.

The author analyzes the subtle interconnections between scientific and political factors. He shows how politics shaped the evolution of general relativity, even though it is a field with no military applications. He also details how different scientists held quite different views about what “political” meant in their efforts to pursue international cooperation. 

The narrative examines the specific epistemic features of general relativity that helped create the first official, international scientific society. It answers: Why did relativity bring about this unique result? Was it simply the product of specific actions of particular actors having an illuminated view of international relations in the specific context of the Cold War? Or, was there something in the nature of the field that inspired the actors to pioneer new ways of international cooperation?

The book will be of interest to historians of modern science, historians of international relations, and historians of institutions. It will also appeal to physicists and interested general readers.


Cold War Science André Mercier International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation International Committee on General Relativity and Gravitation Internationalization of Science Bern Conference General Relativity and Gravitation Peter Bergman John Wheeler André Lichnerowicz Renaissance of General Relativity GRG History of Science Six-Day War Israeli-Soviet Relations

Authors and affiliations

  • Roberto Lalli
    • 1
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for the History of ScienceBerlinGermany

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-54653-7
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-54654-4
  • Series Print ISSN 2211-4564
  • Series Online ISSN 2211-4572
  • Buy this book on publisher's site