(Re-)Establishing International Cooperation After World War II

  • Roberto LalliEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in History of Science and Technology book series (BRIEFSHIST)


The complex landscape of the scientific institutions operating at the international level in the post-World War II period is outlined here. Around the mid-1950s, when the community-building activities connected to general relativity first began, a reconfiguration of these institutions for the promotion and organization of international cooperation in science was under way. The motivations for, and constraints of, this transformation were defined by the world order that was being constructed after the end of World War II and by the evolution of the Cold War. For those willing to create a new structure for promoting general relativity in the international arena, these existing institutions provided both a model to follow and a larger established structure with which to interact. It is argued that one of the major structural changes in institutions such as the International Unions was that they began promoting specific areas of research at this point, while before World War II their role was limited to define international standards. Besides these structural changes in scientific institutions, the second major element was the changing political context related to the post-Stalinist reforms in the Soviet Union and the related détente in international relations that led to an increasing participation of Soviet scientists in international scientific institutions.


Cold war  International Council of Scientific Unions  International relations International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Scientific internationalism Scientific institutions  Soviet Union  UNESCO 


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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for the History of ScienceBerlinGermany

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