Science Born of Poison, Fire and Smoke: Chemical Warfare and the Origins of Big Science
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Big Science has transformed the practice of science. It has also changed our expectations of what topics science will address, and how scientists are trained and employed. Today, many scientists routinely expect to work in teams and in collaborations of teams rather than as individual researchers. Multinational projects such as the Human Genome Project and the International Space Station receive funding in the millions and billions of dollars. Funding agencies and the public have become accustomed to science that makes headlines, not just advancements that add to the body of scholarly knowledge. The importance of Big Science makes it a target for historical investigation, and such investigations can help us understand the impetus for the creation of this phenomenon and why it has taken the form that it currently exhibits. The historical problem is that most examinations of Big Science have presented physics programs during the Cold War as the foundational moment for Big Science. In fact, Big Science originated 40 years before the Manhattan Project and came from chemistry, not physics.