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How Knowledge MovesWriting the Transnational History of Science and Technology$
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John Krige

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226605852

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226606040.001.0001

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Scientific Exchanges between the United States and Brazil in the Twentieth Century

Scientific Exchanges between the United States and Brazil in the Twentieth Century

Cultural Diplomacy and Transnational Movements

(p.281) Chapter Ten Scientific Exchanges between the United States and Brazil in the Twentieth Century
How Knowledge Moves

Olival Freire Jr.

Indianara Silva

University of Chicago Press

This chapter deals with the transnational movement of scientists, mostly physicists, between Brazil and the United States that began in World War II and continued through the Cold War and the Brazilian dictatorship. It tracks the intersection between scientific mobility and foreign policy, charting the tensions between the idealism of scientific internationalism and government restrictions on transnational movement in the name of national security. We begin when the OCIAA led by Nelson Rockefeller along with major foundations mobilized scientists and engineers (as well as film stars and movies) as cultural ambassadors for American democracy. Prominent in this story were cosmic-rays physicists Arthur Compton and Gleb Wataghin. Later, capitalizing on these networks, the physicist David Bohm could settle in Brazil, which provided a safe haven for his escape from McCarthyism. The Brazilian military dictatorship that took power in 1964 changed that. Notwithstanding an official American discourse favorable to democracy, successive US presidents covertly supported the new political system. However, American physicists welcomed Brazilian colleagues into the US and even lobbied successfully for their release from prison. This paper illustrates the importance of visas and passports as instruments used by the national security state to control the movement of scientists.

Keywords:   scientific internationalism, Nelson Rockefeller, Arthur Compton, Gleb Wataghin, David Bohm, cosmic rays, Brazilian military dictatorship, McCarthyism, Cold War

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