Alison Kraft

Visiting Scholar (May 2018-Dec 2019)

Honorary Research Fellow, Department of History, University of Nottingham

Following a degree in molecular biology, Alison studied at the University of Manchester for an MSc and PhD in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, with a dissertation on the history of biology in the UK in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her post-doctoral career was spent at the universities of Liverpool and Nottingham, where between 2002 and 2009 she worked on the history of stem cell biology and the use of stem cells in contemporary medicine, topics on which she has published widely. Whilst in Nottingham, and later in Sheffield, Alison taught a range of history of science and science studies courses. Since 2012, she has been researching the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (Pugwash) and its transnational role in Cold War nuclear politics since 1957. This arose from her long-standing interest in the biological dangers and medical uses of ionizing radiation: her study of the controversy surrounding radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s led to her work on Pugwash in the UK, especially its leading figure, Sir Joseph Rotblat. At the MPIWG, Alison is co-editing a book on the history of Pugwash with Professor Carola Sachse, which will be published in the Brill series History of Modern Science. Her contribution investigates Pugwash in East and West Germany between 1957 and 1977, and casts new light on how this German-German encounter created novel opportunities for cooperation between scientists at this sharpest of Cold War divides.


Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs


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Selected Publications

Sachse, C., & Kraft, A. (Eds.). (2019). Science, (anti-)communism and diplomacy: the Pugwash conferences on science and world affairs in the early Cold War. Leiden: Brill. doi:10.1163/9789004340176.

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Kraft, A. (2019). Confronting the German problem: Pugwash in West and East Germany, 1957–1964. In C. Sachse, & A. Kraft (Eds.), Science, (anti-)communism and diplomacy: the Pugwash conferences on science and world affairs in the early Cold War …

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Kraft, A., & Sachse, C. (2019). The Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs: Vision, Rhetoric, Realities. In C. Sachse, & A. Kraft (Eds.), Science, (anti-)communism and diplomacy: the Pugwash conferences on science and world affairs…

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Kraft, A. (2018). Dissenting scientists in early Cold War Britain: the ‘Fallout’ controversy and the origins of Pugwash, 1954–1957. Journal of Cold War Studies, 20(1), 58-100. doi:10.1162/jcws_a_00801.

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Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

Incl. Hiroshima and Nagasaki in history and memory

Undergraduate modules. University of Sheffield, UK

Radiation protection: Latency and the leukaemia question

Claiming Authority Producing Standards: The IAEA and radiation protection. Department of Philosophy, University of Vienna

Radiological dangers: From unsafe spaces to environmental hazard

Berlin-Brandenburg Colloquium in Environmental History. Humboldt University, Berlin

Pugwash and the two Germanys, 1957–1963: Transcending the divide, tackling the “German question”

Berlin Kolleg Kalter Krieg

Pugwash and the two Germanies, 1955–1967: Trust between scientists as political resource?

Ringvorlesung: Vertrauen als Ressource internationaler Politik, Berlin Kolleg Kalter Krieg, Humboldt University, Berlin