© 2018

Ocean Science and the British Cold War State

  • Offers a detailed account of the role of ocean science in British Cold War politics

  • Explores the relationship between British politics and oceanography within the broader context of national politics and the drive to create international scientific collaborations

  • Looks beyond ocean science to broader questions of how science policy is shaped by and shapes the course of science and of politics


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Samuel A. Robinson
    Pages 1-33
  3. Samuel A. Robinson
    Pages 35-73
  4. Samuel A. Robinson
    Pages 153-185
  5. Samuel A. Robinson
    Pages 257-260
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 271-278

About this book


This book focuses on the activities of the scientific staff of the British National Institute of Oceanography during the Cold War. Revealing how issues such as intelligence gathering, environmental surveillance, the identification of ‘enemy science’, along with administrative practice informed and influenced the Institute’s Cold War program. In turn, this program helped shape decisions taken by Government, military and the civil service towards science in post-war Britain. This was not simply a case of government ministers choosing to patronize particular scientists, but a relationship between politics and science that profoundly impacted on the future of ocean science in Britain.


Oceanography British National Institute of Oceanography Science policy Military Bureaucracy Scientists Sea Intelligence Surveillance Enemy science Collaboration

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of YorkYorkUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Samuel A. Robinson completed a PhD in the History of Science and Technology at the University of Manchester, UK (2015) and is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of York, UK, on an AHRC funded project: Unsettling Scientific Stories: Expertise, Narratives, and Future Histories.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Ocean Science and the British Cold War State
  • Authors Samuel A. Robinson
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-73095-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-10314-9
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-73096-7
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIV, 278
  • Number of Illustrations 7 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of Science
    History of Britain and Ireland
    Political History
    Modern History
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Ocean Science and the British Cold War State offers a valuable model for understanding how scientific networks are built, sustained, and dismantled and provides a welcome complement to U.S.-centric accounts of twentieth-century marine science.” (Antony Adler, Isis, Vol. 110 (4), 2019)