Science in Uniform, Uniforms in Science: Historical Studies of American Military and Scientific Interactions
- Publish Date: 2007-06-27
- Binding: Paperback
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Science in Uniform, Uniforms in Science: Historical Studies of American Military and Scientific Interactions is a collection of essays, which owes its existence to the fortuitous conjunction of two events. The first was a temporary exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington that opened in October 2002, entitled West Point in the Making of America, 1802-1918. Sponsored by the U.S. Army, it commemorated the bicentennial of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Rather than recount the academy's history, however, this exhibit focused on the lives and work of a select group of West Point graduates, some famous, others less well known, in the context of American national development from the beginning of the 19th century through the First World War. One of the exhibit's central themes was the significant part West Pointers played in the creation of American science and engineering. An extraordinary display of objects, such as natural history specimens sent by antebellum soldier-explorers in the West to the newly formed Smithsonian Institution, augmented the biographical narratives with visual and material historical evidence.
Sixteen months later, in January 2004, the annual meeting of the American Historical Association came to the same city. The AHA seemed to offer a perfect venue for the exhibit's final public program, a symposium on the historic links between America's armed forces and the development of American science and technology. Not all those who participated in the symposium were able to prepare articles for this volume, but this book nonetheless represents an impressive cross-section of work being done on an important but too often overlooked aspect of American history.