Jacob Darwin Hamblin

Dr. Jacob Darwin Hamblin 

Associate Professor
History of Science, History of Technology, Environmental History
310 Milam Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331
Phone: (541) 737-3503
Fax: (541) 737-1257
E-mail: jacob.hamblin@oregonstate.edu
Blog and Website: jacobdarwinhamblin.com

Jacob Darwin Hamblin specializes in the international dimensions of science, technology, and the environment during the Cold War era.  



  • Hamblin hails from northern Virginia but earned his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He also studied abroad at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, as an undergraduate. He then did graduate work at UC Santa Barbara under the direction of Lawrence Badash, earning an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from the Program in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in 2001. He held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre Alexandre Koyré in Paris in 2001-2002. Before coming to OSU, he taught at Loyola Marymount University, California State University at Long Beach, and Clemson University. His courses include topics in the history of twentieth-century science, the history of technology, and environmental history.
  • Hamblin's research has explored the history of the earth and environmental sciences and the history of nuclear issues. His scholarly articles have appeared in Isis, Osiris, Technology & Culture, Diplomatic History, Environmental History, and several other journals. His first book, Oceanographers and the Cold War, assessed the military, political, and economic motivations behind international cooperative ventures in the marine sciences after World War II.  His second book, Poison in the Well: Radioactive Waste in the Oceans at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age, was the first international history of one of the least-understood environmental controversies during the Cold War era.
  • Hamblin’s most recent book is Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism, from Oxford University Press.
  • Hamblin's current project explores the promotion of nuclear-related science and technology in the countries of the so-called developing world.  The study blends the perspectives of history of science, environmental history, and the history of international relations.


Arming Mother Nature:
The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism

(Oxford University Press, 2013)
Arming Mother Nature
Poison In The Well
Poison in the Well:

Radioactive Waste in the Oceans
at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age
(Rutgers University Press, 2008)
Paperback edition 2009

Oceanographers and the Cold War:

Disciples of Marine Science
(University of Washington Press, 2005)

Oceanographers and the Cold War

Selected Publications  

“Environmental Dimensions of World War II,” in Thomas W. Zeiler, ed., with Daniel M. DuBois, A Companion to World War II (Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 698-716. 

“Fukushima and the Motifs of Nuclear History,” Environmental History 17:2 (2012), 285-299.

“A Global Contamination Zone: Early Cold War Planning for Environmental Warfare,” in J. R. McNeill and Corinna R. Unger, ed., Environmental Histories of the Cold War (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 85-114.

“Environmentalism for the Atlantic Alliance: NATO’s Experiment with the Challenges of Modern Society,” Environmental History 15:1 (2010), 54-75.

“Gods and Devils in the Details: Marine Pollution, Radioactive Waste, and an Environmental Regime circa 1972,” Diplomatic History 32 (2008), 539-560.

“Les Politiques de Coopération Scientifique Internationale, ou L’Abandon du ‘S’ dans le Sigle UNESCO,” in 60 Ans d’Histoire de L’UNESCO (Paris: UNESCO, 2007), 379-387.<

“Mastery of Landscapes and Seascapes: Science at the Strategic Poles during the International Geophysical Year,” in Keith R. Benson and Helen M. Rozwadowski, ed., Extremes: Oceanography’s Adventures at the Poles (Sagamore Beach: Science History Publications, 2007, 201-225).

“‘A Dispassionate and Objective Effort:’ Negotiating the First Study on the Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation,” Journal of the History of Biology 40 (2007), 147-177.

“Exorcising Ghosts in the Age of Automation: United Nations Experts and Atoms for Peace,” Technology and Culture 47 (2006), 734–756.

“Hallowed Lords of the Sea: Scientific Authority and Radioactive Waste in the United States, Britain, and France,” in John Krige and Kai-Henrik Barth, eds., Global Power Knowledge: Science and Technology in International Affairs, Osiris 21 (2006), 209–228.

“Piercing the Iron Curtain: UNESCO, Marine Science, and the Legacy of the International Geophysical Year,” in P. Petitjean, V. Zharov, G. Glaser, J. Richardson, B. de Padirac, and G. Archibald, eds., Sixty Years of Science at UNESCO, 1946–2005 (Paris: UNESCO, 2006), 68-70.

“Environmental Diplomacy in the Cold War: the Disposal of Radioactive Waste at Sea during the 1960s,” International History Review 24:2 (2002), 348–375.

“The Navy’s ‘Sophisticated’ Pursuit of Science: Undersea Warfare, the Limits of Internationalism, and the Utility of Basic Research, 1945–1956,” Isis 93:1 (2002), 1–27.

“La Mer au Centre de la Guerre Froide,” in La Science et La Guerre : 400 Ans d’Histoire Partagée (La Recherche hors série 7, 2002), 74–77.  Translation: “The Sea at the Center of the Cold War,” in Science and War: 400 Years of Shared History.

“Science and North-South Sentiment: International Oceanography in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, 1950–1966," Historisch-Meereskundliches Jahrbuch 8 (2001), 89–102.

“Visions of International Scientific Cooperation: the Case of Oceanic Science, 1920–1955,” Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy 38:4 (2000), 393–423.

“Science in Isolation: American Marine Geophysics Research, 1950–1968,” Physics in Perspective 2:3 (2000), 293–312.