The Shadow of the Bomb:a study of degree-level nuclear physics textbooks

Cottey, Alan (2010) The Shadow of the Bomb:a study of degree-level nuclear physics textbooks. Power and Education, 2 (2). pp. 152-166. ISSN 1757-7438

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


The author presents a textual analysis of 57 nuclear physics textbooks for senior-level physics degree students. The work investigates how the textbooks relate to an aspect that is relevant and important but almost wholly avoided, namely nuclear weapons. Most of the books do, however, contain expositions of other applications, notably nuclear power reactors. These expositions are often enthusiastic and occasionally extravagant. When the existing apocalyptic arsenals are borne in mind, the textbooks' asymmetry is seen to be problematic. The publication dates of the textbooks range from 1950 to 2010, yet for the question addressed in this study remarkably little has changed. This study emphasises the culture in which we all live, rather than individual specialists. The author concludes that a response to our nuclear situation, based on a rational programme for long-term survival, rather than on psychological defences, has to come from all. Experts do have special responsibilities but the author maintains that it is unrealistic to expect specialist groups, such as those involved in producing textbooks, to act independently of the wider culture.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: nuclear physics,nuclear education,nuclear weapons,textual analysis,textbooks,inattention,nuclear and high energy physics,social psychology,education,linguistics and language,cultural studies ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3100/3106
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Chemistry
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2015 06:16
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2023 13:30
DOI: 10.2304/power.2010.2.2.152

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item