Cold War in America: Science
Arrianna Diamantis

During the Cold War various inventions that still impact and allow us as a society to grow, were presented. Inventions from NASA helped us reach the moon, dignify dreams, and compete in the Space Race. America strived throughout the Cold War to create new expectations.The world of science in America took a leap forward in many realms. For example, after the invention of the Atomic Bomb, it was thought that a more powerful bomb couldn't exactly exist. On Bikini Atoll the United States tested the Hydrogen Bomb. The impact on the Cold War can be seen as heightening the tensions, opening the world into a whole new realm of sciences, and giving the United States more power as a country. The United States with its power, tricked the indigenous people of Bikini Atoll into leaving their island so they could test the mind-blowing bomb.


Some inventions are:
Transistor: ( Dec. 16, 1947) Invented by William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain. The Transistor created the basis for modern technology. Its contents were, a plastic triangle which was hanging about a germanium crystal. The crystal on a metal plate was attached to a voltage source. A gold strip wrapped around the point of the triangle with a gap allowed for contact between the crystal and gold. The flow through these objects created an amplified current and allowed for an object to work similar to today's radio.The invention of the transistor impacted the war, by allowing better communication and awareness to the building situation of the Cold War.

Microwave Oven: (1946/commercial in 1947) Invented by Dr. Percy Spencer. This necessity in today's society was shockingly created as an accident while working on another radar related invention. He found that the machine worked in other ways when he realized that the chocolate in his pocket has melted. The first patented microwave was placed in a Boston restaurant to be tested and weighed 750 pounds while standing 5 1/2 feet tall. These machines costed about $5,000 each. By accidentally creating the microwave, lives at home during the Cold War were made easier.

Hydrogen Bomb: (November 1, 1952) The Hydrogen bomb was first tested at Bikini Atoll and was 1,000 times more powerful than the Atomic Bomb. "Mike" (the bomb's code name), sent flames 57,000 feet in the air after detonation. One of the Atolls vaporized into a large mushroom cloud. Clearly, the thermonuclear bomb is extremely dangerous. No one exactly knew how dangerous. The United States had the lead in the Arms Race against the Soviet Union for a short time with the testing of the Hydrogen bomb. J. Robert Oppenheimer, who helped create the Atomic Bomb, was one who opposed the Hydrogen Bomb. He opposed it because he predicted exactly what happened, an acceleration in the arms race. Along with the acceleration, tensions rose. Since the power of the Hydrogen Bomb was 1,000 times more powerful than that of the Atomic Bomb, it was a threat to the world when it was created. Socially, America began broadcasting ways to protect oneself from the attack of the bomb even in schools. The bomb and its successful detonation impacted America immensely.

Satellites: (January 1, 1958) Shortly after the Soviet Union, the United States launched its first satellite, Explorer 1. The competition to the moon, was similar to that of the arms race. It was called the Space Race. The Army launched the satellite at Cap Canaveral in Florida. Explorer 1 weighed eighteen pounds, was 80 inches long and six in diameter. Besides reaching new feats in Space, the United States also learned about the Van Allen Radiation belts when the Satellite burned up in the atmosphere in 1970. The Satellite sometimes reported the expected Cosmic Ray count and had many transistors in it, with a radio beacon.


Lasers: (May,1960) Theodore Maiman is believed to have invented the laser. After its invention is was not only used for entertainment as we so fondly and commonly see it today. It was also used for weaponry, among many other things. Lasers were first used for cutting and wielding because they were created to be accurate, and transfer energy at a quick rate. The impact on the Cold War and life during the Cold War itself, is limitless. However, most often they were used in the military for cutting and burning weapons.


Silicon Valley: On the San Fransisco Peninsula, Silicon Valley still serves as an important and thriving business although it did have a period where it began to decline. Through funding, research, and the race to become the better, stronger nation. However, it is said the Silicon Valley did more development than research. Many feel that Silicon Valley was not responsible for creating the items it is known for, but they are viewed as partly responsible. The development of microwaves, supercomputers, other electronics, missiles, and satellites were perfected by Silicon Valley. The impact of Silicon Valley is clear and positive, because it still exists today. As a military and technological research business Silicon Valley during the Cold War served as a vital way for America to continue advancing in the realms of science, whether it dealt with everyday life or military discoveries. Therefore, Silicon Valley, directly, as well as indirectly affected the Cold War and the products that came with the era.

ARPAnet: In 1969 the first step towards today's internet was created. The purpose of ARPAnet was to protect information between Military installations by developing a network where computers were carefully separated geographically. Even though they were separated, they could still exchange information through the Network Control Protocol, (NCP). ARPA stands for Advanced Research Projects Agency. This agency was a military branch, created to develop top secret systems and weapons during the Cold War. Despite what it was created for, many wished that the ARPAnet would not just be used for military safety and advncements. In UCLA, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah's research centers, were where the first ARPAnet technology was installed. ARPAnet impacted America by not only allowing a step forward in Military or research aspects, but by taking a step closer to the internet we use constantly today.


Military Industrial Complex: The Military Industrial Complex can be viewed as a relationship between defense contractors and government forces. Somehow, both sides "win" and get what they want, whether it is finances, profit, or military success. The booming idea behind the establishment of the Military Industrial Complex is that a country, especially the best country, the "superpower," must have the strongest and most well equipped, ready military. Eisenhower, as shown below in his farewell address in 1961, says that the Military Industrial Complex should not "dictate America's actions at home or abroad." The impact that the Military Industrial Complex can be one of economic and war time growth, and one where America's position as a superpower in the Cold War seems to be solidified and just.

National Science Foundation: Science was extremely important to America during the Cold War, through research and advancements, this is evident. Scientists were gathered together to work on ideas for advancements in technology because President Eisenhower viewed the Cold War as a gateway where technological revolution was vital to remain a superpower. Through this board, advancements, progression, and discoveries were made in order to help the United States, in this revolution.

Significance: Science in America during the Cold War was a time period where technology and science rapidly grew. Inventions like the microwave affected daily life, where satellites and the Hydrogen Bomb affected America's power in the world, and ability to hold onto that Superpower title. Cold War America thrived off of Cold War based companies rather than the average economy, since it was a War time economy. Along with each invention and progression, tensions rose, creating fear amongst citizens, and determination to be better from researchers and scientists. Science in America affected the Arms race and Space Race. The main push for the United States to go to such strenuous lengths was the want to beat out the Soviet Union and keep America safe, as a superpower.

Impact: Many of the inventions of the Cold war such as satellites have pushed us to where we are today, in space, at home on the internet, or in the hospitals. Science worked with, and against the United States. Although each thermonuclear weapon, and device was more harmful than the last, it kept America safe. Science impacted the Cold War by keeping us in it. Science in the Cold War impacts us today, by showing how inventions grow, such as ARPAnet to the internet.

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