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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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Technical Assistance in Movement

Technical Assistance in Movement

Nuclear Knowledge Crosses Latin American Borders

(p.345) Chapter Twelve Technical Assistance in Movement
How Knowledge Moves

Gisela Mateos

Edna Suárez-Díaz

University of Chicago Press

This paper focuses on the materiality of travel, and the intricate different kinds of networks, contacts, and flows that make the itineraries of knowledge possible. By tracing the itinerary of a Mobile Radioisotope Laboratory as it meandered on a huge truck from its point of departure at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, through the roads of several Latin American countries between 1960 and 1965 (Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Bolivia, to end up stationed in Costa Rica), we highlight the challenges and contingencies faced not only in crossing borders, but in traveling from one town to another within any one country. These challenges were not simply bureaucratic, but also related to the vagaries of nature itself. They reflect an inability to imagine what travel in a "developing" country entailed, and by a divergence of cultural norms and expectations between local officials and those in international organizations, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency. Writing transnational histories of science also helps to reveal the salient role of actors who are often invisible, in this case the truck’s Austrian driver.

Keywords:   travel, itineraries, roads, radioisotopes, Latin America, contingencies, transnational, nature

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