Policy & Politics

Cold War Chemistry

Today we explore how science was wielded as a weapon over the course of the Cold War.

Episode 167 | February 18, 2013

Episode 167: Cold War Chemistry by Distillations Podcast

For decades the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in battle; two superpowers with very different visions of how the world should work. Though both sides possessed nuclear bombs, each had another vital weapon in their arsenals: SCIENCE. On today's show CHF's Haas Postdoctoral Fellow Mat Savelli sits down with Distillations’ founding executive producer Audra Wolfe to discuss how the science-tinged war for hearts and minds was waged. They also discuss her new book Competing with the Soviets: Science, Technology, and the State in Cold War America. Then we dip into CHF's oral history archives to learn how the life of Intel co-founder Leslie Vadasz was shaped by the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, when students launched a revolt against Soviet rule.

Show Clock

00:00 Opening Credits
00:32 Introduction
01:31 Interview (Part I): Audra Wolfe
05:41 Oral History: Leslie Vadasz
10:36 Interview (Part II): Audra Wolfe
14:34 Closing Credits


Special thanks to Hilary Domush, Mat Savelli, and Audra Wolfe for researching this show. 

Competing with the Soviets: Science, Technology, and the State of Cold War America was published by The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Our theme music is composed by Andrew Chalfen. Additional music includes “Song of the Crocodile Gena” and “Song About a Grasshopper,” both performed by the Big Children’s Choir of Russia (1973).

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.