Jobs: Kandidaten gezocht voor onderzoeksproject rond de geschiedenis van het Studiecentrum voor Kernenergie SCK–CEN (Deadline 25 april 2018)

In het kader van een onderzoeksproject over de geschiedenis van het Studiecentrum voor Kernenergie SCK–CEN worden twee doctoraatsplaatsen aangeboden voor onderzoek over de vroege ontwikkeling en de huidige evolutie van het Centrum. Het onderzoek situeert zich op het grensvlak tussen wetenschapsgeschiedenis, STS en politieke geschiedenis.  Duurtijd van het project is vier jaar. Voor meer informatie kunnen geïnteresseerden contact opnemen met Prof. Geert Vanpaemel (geert.vanpaemel@kuleuven.be).

Kandidaturen worden ingewacht vóór 25 april.

The creation of SCK•CEN constitutes a major turning point in the history of science in Belgium. The new institution embodied the ambition of the Belgian government to make the most of Belgium’s uranium resources and to mark a place for itself in the international forum of nuclear science. As a government controlled research center, generously funded and endowed with large infrastructure facilities, it easily fitted the definition of so-called Big Science, as it had become popular in many countries in the aftermath of the Second World War. Yet, after only a few decades, the concept of Big Science had become the target of criticism, both in academic circles, as in political and public debates. Big Science brought scientific research dangerously near to political issues, which made it vulnerable to the changing tides of public trust in political institutions. As the era of ‘technocratic utopianism’ waned, Big Science institutions needed to adapt to a more diversified context of research programs and industrial clients.

The early history of SCK•CEN provides an unique opportunity to investigate the congruence of political and scientific objectives in the rebuilding of Belgium during the Cold War. It addresses a range of topics from attitudes towards nuclear energy, to issues of science policy and international collaboration. It also serves to picture the role of Belgian physicists in the development of nuclear science and charts the influence of in particular American science on Belgian research. It finally mirrors the public attitudes of the Belgian people towards nuclear energy in the early phases of the Atomic Age.

The research project is part of the activities to celebrate the 70th anniversary of SCK•CEN.