Benjamin Wilson is a historian of science interested in the history of modern physics and the practice and politics of expertise in the nuclear age. He completed his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society, and was a Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. His research follows concepts, practices, and experts as they have moved, often with remarkable fluidity, across the boundaries drawn by national security and secrecy in the Cold War. He is interested broadly in the making of hybrid fields of knowledge and expertise in modern physics in the Cold War era, and recently published an article on the history of nonlinear optics—the science of the interaction between matter and very intense light.
Benjamin is currently working on his first book, under contract with Harvard University Press. It presents the history of strategic arms control, an interdisciplinary field of knowledge and policy crafted by an elite and eclectic group of American thinkers—physicist veterans of the Manhattan Project, disarmament advocates, academic defense consultants, RAND Corporation nuclear strategists, and others—at the dawn of the missile age.
Wilson, B. (2016). Review of a Film: Galison, Peter, Robb Moss: Strategies of containment: Containment. 2015. Endeavour, 40(4), 212-214.Read More
Wilson, B., & Kaiser, D. (2014). Calculating times: radar, ballistic missiles, and Einstein’s relativity. In N. Oreskes, & J. Krige (Eds.), Science and technology in the global cold war (pp. 273-316). Cambridge: The MIT Press.Read More
Wilson, B. (2015). The consultants: nonlinear optics and the social world of Cold War science. Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 45(5), 758-804.Read More