MPIWG Colloquium Series 2022–23: Science Diplomacy and Science in Times of War

Stephanie Hood's picture
October 10, 2022 to June 13, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Diplomacy and International Relations, Government and Public Service, Health and Health Care, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Peace History / Studies

Shortly after the end of the Second World War, in an address on "Science in War and Peace," Nobel laureate Henry Dale argued that there has to be an essential difference in the role of science in wartime and in peaceful times. Science’s concern with war is “abnormal” and should return as soon as possible, when hostilities cease, to “the service of peace.” However, science in peaceful time should also be “resolute and watchful against any encroachment, on activities proper to peace, of a secrecy which we accepted as an abnormal condition in war, and with a determined effort to accelerate the liberation of science from its entanglements.”

In recent months and years, a series of major armed conflicts across the globe and the succession of several pandemics have given rise to a series of disturbing questions about the interplay between science and politics in a global context.

The  Institute’s Colloquium series of 2022/23 at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science is dedicated to the rethinking of science and scientific knowledge in times of peace and in times of crises and war. Within this framework, the colloquium series will interrogate the history and concepts of "science diplomacy," its applicability across time and space; limits and opportunities of scientific cooperation across borders, cultural and national contexts, fluctuating between peace and war; legitimation of using science and scientists as means of sanctions and geopolitical tools; and if we should differentiate between politically and diplomatically usable science and politically/diplomatically irrelevant science, reminiscent of Dale’s distinction between peaceful "normal science" and "abnormal" war science?

The series will take place in a hybrid format (on Zoom and at our institute in Berlin-Dahlem, Germany).

Contact Info: 

Dora Vargha