This is a simple pitch to follow a blog I recently discovered and love called Restricted Data. Posts are well-researched and fascinating, covering a variety of topics from around the nuclear weapons complex from the birth of the Manhattan Project through the Cold War to present day. For a taste, check out the post: “Death of a Patent Clerk.”
Alex Wellerstein describes his blog Restricted Data in this way:
“Nuclear secrecy is a special kind of secrecy, because the atomic bomb is a special kind of bomb. Just as the atomic bomb has been treated as something above and beyond any other category of warfare, so has its secrecy. In the United States, nuclear weapons related information has a separate and parallel structure from other types of state secrets, one that in many ways rests on a very different epistemological foundation than military, diplomatic, or political secrets. When the bomb was thrust upon the consciousness of the world, again and again it was emphasized that it was built by science and by secrecy. In the years since the Manhattan Project, this connection between secrets and security, between nuclear technology and nuclear knowledge, has continued, although it has not been constant, nor evinced the same responses.
This blog takes its name from legal definition of American nuclear secrecy, as defined by the Atomic Energy Act of 1946.1 For me, “Restricted Data” represents all of the historical strangeness of nuclear secrecy, where the shock of the bomb led scientists, policymakers, and military men to construct a baroque and often contradictory system of knowledge control in the (somewhat vain) hope that they could control the spread and use of nuclear technology.
It is these sorts of matters that this blog is concerned with: the history of nuclear weapons in general (in particular from an epistemological, or knowledge-centric, point of view), and the history of nuclear secrecy in particular. It serves as an outlet for some of the interesting documents, stories, and observations that I’ve come across in my research. I am currently completing a book on the history of nuclear secrecy, and have been doing research on this topic since 2002.
There are three main categories of posts: Mediations (essays or extended thoughts of mine); Redactions (documents from the archives); and Visions (visual explorations). There will be at least one post a week — anything more than that is just a bonus. There is a separate, occasionally-used category of News and Notes which are just for small, topical items. A good way to see past posts is the Post Archives page.”
Check it out and enjoy!
Posted by: Liz Mattson