“Big Science, Nazified? Pascual Jordan, Adolf Meyer-Abich, and the Abortive Scientific Journal Physis,” forthcoming in Isis 109, no. 4 (December 2018)
Abstract: Using newly uncovered archival sources, this essay traces the meteoric rise and fall of the peculiar interdisciplinary German scientific journal Physis, founded by physicist Pascual Jordan and biologist Adolf Meyer-Abich in late 1941. Launched when Nazi Germany appeared victorious, Physis was intended by Jordan and Meyer-Abich to be a premier international journal for all sciences suitable for the new “German-led Europe” forged by conquest. Yet the journal was simultaneously a vehicle for institutionalizing Jordan’s remarkably prescient vision of the future of the scientific enterprise in Nazi Germany—a vision nearly identical to what is now termed “big science,” yet with an added infusion of the regime’s ideology. Accompanied by a campaign of intrigue behind the scenes, this article describes how the two attempted—and failed—to find a patron for Physis and big science in various areas of the Nazi state.
Review of Jan Rüger and Nikolaus Wachsmann, eds, Rewriting German History: New Perspectives on Modern Germany, H-Net Online, 2017 [link]
This edited volume (published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015) is a Festschrift for historian Richard J. Evans containing sixteen essays written by Evans’s former doctoral students. All of the contributions touch on modern German history. I examine the volume from the perspective of a historian of science; as I conclude, it “provides a superb snapshot of current trends in German historical research, and can be recommended to any historians of science whose interests touch on the German-speaking world.”