Thesis ID: CBB194032912

Fortress Science: The Spatialities of Radio Astronomy (2021)


Guy Jano Trangoš (Author)
Brenner, Neil (Advisor)

Harvard University
Brenner, Neil
Publication date: 2021
Language: English

Publication Date: 2021
Physical Details: 319

The production of space as an internal condition to the scientific production of knowledge is an under investigated and seldom theorized process within the studies of science, technology, and society (STS), and the spatial disciplines. Through a comparative study of the world’s four leading radio telescopes (the Arecibo Observatory, the Atacama Millimeter/submillimeter Array, the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, and MeerKAT), I examine the territorial, concentrated, and contingent spatialities of these scientific sites through the multidisciplinary lens of fortress science. Each telescope embodies differing spatial formations as a product of their institutional makeup, scientific goals, and political contexts, but exhibits similar spatial formations with regards to territorial transformations and human material concentrations. We can read these formations through the metaphor of the glacis, an historical fortress technology that acts as an obscuration in which apparent ‘emptiness’ conceals significant influence and connectivity. I draw on this analogy as an embodiment of the conceptual tools underlying the dissertation – that of technology and infrastructure, and landscape and territory – and I use these tools to position fortress science as structuring an analytical fusion of space and science. Spatial process is found to be enmeshed in the structure of scientific research itself, and as a result scientific production is found to alter, structure, and restructure space as an active force.

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Authors & Contributors
Orchiston, Wayne
Agar, Jon E.
Bailer-Jones, Daniela M.
Boischot, Andre
Ekers, R. D.
Elbers, Astrid
Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage
British Journal for the History of Science
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
European Physical Journal H
Historical Records of Australian Science
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Cambridge University Press
Harwood Academic
MIT Press
Arizona State University
Radio astronomy
Instruments, astronomical
Science and technology studies (STS)
Bolton, John Gatenby
Bush, Vannevar
Slee, Bruce
Swarup, Govind
Wild, John Paul
Gehry, Frank
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, late
21st century
Great Britain
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) (Australia)
Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) (Study group: U.S.)
Universität Bonn
Nuffield Radio Astronomy Laboratories, Jodrell Bank
Observatoire de Paris
Science Council of Japan

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