The Rise of Nuclear Fear

Portada
Harvard University Press, 2 abr. 2012 - 384 páginas
After a tsunami destroyed the cooling system at Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, triggering a meltdown, protesters around the world challenged the use of nuclear power. Germany announced it would close its plants by 2022. Although the ills of fossil fuels are better understood than ever, the threat of climate change has never aroused the same visceral dread or swift action. Spencer Weart dissects this paradox, demonstrating that a powerful web of images surrounding nuclear energy holds us captive, allowing fear, rather than facts, to drive our thinking and public policy. Building on his classic, Nuclear Fear, Weart follows nuclear imagery from its origins in the symbolism of medieval alchemy to its appearance in film and fiction. Long before nuclear fission was discovered, fantasies of the destroyed planet, the transforming ray, and the white city of the future took root in the popular imagination. At the turn of the twentieth century when limited facts about radioactivity became known, they produced a blurred picture upon which scientists and the public projected their hopes and fears. These fears were magnified during the Cold War, when mushroom clouds no longer needed to be imagined; they appeared on the evening news. Weart examines nuclear anxiety in sources as diverse as Alain Resnais's film Hiroshima Mon Amour, Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road, and the television show The Simpsons. Recognizing how much we remain in thrall to these setpieces of the imagination, Weart hopes, will help us resist manipulation from both sides of the nuclear debate.
 

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Índice

1 Radioactive Hopes
1
2 Radioactive Fears
11
Elixir or Poison?
22
4 The Secret the Master and the Monster
32
5 The Destroyer of Worlds
45
6 The News from Hiroshima
55
7 National Defenses
70
8 Atoms for Peace
79
17 The Debate Explodes
181
18 Energy Choices
196
19 Civilization or Liberation?
210
20 Watersheds
228
21 The Second Nuclear Age
242
22 Deconstructing Nuclear Weapons
256
23 Tyrants and Terrorists
265
24 The Modern Arcanum
279

9 Good and Bad Atoms
88
10 The New Blasphemy
96
11 Death Dust
110
12 The Imagination of Survival
123
13 The Politics of Survival
138
14 Seeking Shelter
147
15 FailSafe
158
16 Reactor Promises and Poisons
172
25 Artistic Transmutations
287
A Personal Note
301
Nuclear History Timeline
307
Notes
311
Further Reading
349
Index
353
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Sobre el autor (2012)

WeartSpencer R.:

Spencer R. Weart is Director Emeritus of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics.

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