Science, Secrecy, and the Soviet State

Event Date: 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - 4:00pm

Event Location: 

  • HSSB 4020

Asif Saddiqi
Professor, History, Fordham University

Secrecy was endemic in Soviet society and culture. Information that we might consider benign in the Western context was off-limits to most of the general populace throughout the existence of the Soviet Union. Controls over the circulation of information were particularly strict relating to matters of national security, which usually subsumed most scientific and engineering activity. Yet, the state also had an imperative to publicize Soviet achievements in science and technology even as it kept most of this activity secret. This obvious contradiction forms the backdrop to Siddiqi’s current work  in which he describes limits on the production, circulation, and interpretation of scientific knowledge in the Soviet Union (with examples of secret artifacts, people, and institutions) as a way to add to a broader discussion of secrecy and science and technology in the 20th century.