Cold War, Hot Science: Applied Research in Britain's Defence Laboratories, 1945-1990
Robert Bud, Philip Gummett
Science Museum, 2002 - History - 426 pages
This book presents an authoritative history of post-war British defence research as related to the establishments that, at the time of writing and first publication, formed part of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA). DERA included such well-known centres as the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment at Malvern, and the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment at Porton Down. Collectively these have carried out a very high proportion of all the scientific research conducted in Britain since the Second World War. Study of these vast, but traditionally secretive, institutions is vital to understanding science in post-war Britain. In addition to research towards new weapons, the establishments have maintained high levels of policy-relevant expertise, providing advice to government and even carried out some manufacturing. Until now their contribution has been little understood. This is the first systematic treatment of their history, putting the applied science of the military sector in its technological, military and social context. Developments and areas of work have been selected for inclusion primarily on the basis of their importance to Britain's overall defence capabilities and posture during the period. Also included are cases of significance to civil industry and technology in general, together with treatments of key aspects of defence management and organisation. A substantial introduction puts the research in its strategic context. The book offers a pioneering synthesis, studying science and conventional arms with a focus upon research rather than all aspects of military technology.
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