CONF: Scientific Cooperation Across the Cold War Divide (Trieste, 23-24 November 2017)

Elisabetta Bini's picture
International Conference
Scientific Cooperation Across the Cold War Divide: 
East-West Relations in the Field of Atomic Energy
Trieste, 23-24 November 2017

Organized by the Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, University of Trieste and the Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, University of Naples Federico II

In collaboration with the Central European Research Infrastructure Consortium (CERIC-ERIC)

This international conference aims at analyzing the influences and exchanges that took place during the Cold War between the United States, the Soviet Union, Western and East-Central Europe in the field of nuclear research and technology, with a focus on energy.

It brings together scholars from different disciplines (the history of science, STS, international relations, political science, and so forth), whose research focuses on various aspects of this broad issue.

The Conference will address the following themes:
- The role of institutions and subjects that operated at an international and transnational level in overcoming (and sometimes challenging) the barriers of the Cold War. Papers will focus both on specific countries and on supranational organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
- The relationship and exchange between scientists and research centers in Western, East-Central Europe, as well as in the US, the USSR and the so-called Third World, and their role in promoting forms of scientific cooperation and nonproliferation policies.
- The importance of specific national or regional experiences in the research and development of nuclear energy and technology in East-Central Europe and the USSR, and their interaction with (or lack thereof) developments taking place in Western Europe and the US.

One of the aims of the conference is to build a network in Central and Eastern Europe, capable of developing a new interdisciplinary approach, including and addressing the diversity of historical developments in this area.

Scientific committee: 
Elisabetta Bini (University of Naples Federico II)
Elisabetta Vezzosi (University of Trieste).
Conference secretary: Carla Konta (

Conference Program

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Sala Atti Arduino Agnelli – Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici Androna Campo Marzio 10


Presentation of the book Nuclear Italy. An International History of Italian Nuclear Policies during the Cold War, edited by Elisabetta Bini and Igor Londero, Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2017.

Elisabeth Roehrlich, University of Vienna 
Gianrossano Giannini, University of Trieste 
Angela Santese, University of Bologna

Friday, 24 November 2017

Sala Atti Arduino Agnelli – Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici Androna Campo Marzio 10

Morning session 9.30-13.00

Elisabeth Roehrlich, University of Vienna
The Spirit of Vienna: Superpower Cooperation at the International Atomic Energy Agency during the Mid-Cold War

Fabian Luescher, University of Bern
“Breaking Down all Barriers Erected in the Path of International Cooperation”: Soviet Atomic Science Diplomacy, 1955–1968

Elisabetta Vezzosi, University of Trieste
The Committee of Concerned Scientists: “Refusenik” Scientists and Soviet Nuclear Secrecy

Discussant: Lorenzo Mechi, University of Padua
Afternoon session 15.00-18.30

Stefan Guth, University of Tübingen
From Close Encounter to Close Contacts: Nuclear Techno-Diplomacy and Trans-Systemic Collaboration across the Bloc Divide and its Post-Soviet Aftermath, 1965-2015

Carla Konta, University of Trieste
Yugoslav Nuclear Diplomacy in the Early Cold War: Alliances, Ideologies and Realpolitik

Elisabetta Bini, University of Naples Federico II
Challenging Cold War Boundaries: The International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) between Bipolarism and Decolonization

Discussant: Francesco Cassata, University of Genoa

Discussion and closing remarks