Send an Email

Office: 541-737-3503

Milam Hall

Milam Hall 310

2520 SW Campus Way

2520 SW Campus Way
Corvallis, OR 97331
Office Hours: 
Office hours Wed Thurs 11-12 or by appointment

Profile Field Tabs

Affiliated with: 
History Department
Courses Taught: 




HSTS 413 HISTORY OF SCIENCE (4) (eighteenth and nineteenth centuries)


I also offer graduate seminars (HSTS 599) each year, usually on history, science, and the natural environment.


Research/Career Interests: 



The author of  Arming Mother Nature and other books, Jacob Darwin Hamblin writes about the history and politics of science, technology, and environmental issues. His work has appeared in theNew York TimesSalon, and many publications devoted to the history of science, technology, and the natural world. 

Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism is a book that challenges us to consider how much our views of global environmental change come from collaboration between scientists and the military as they planned to fight, and to survive, a third world war. His previous 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 of the twentieth century. An earlier book, Oceanographers and the Cold War, explores the reasons for the explosive growth of the marine sciences after World War II.

Current Research

Hamblin is researching and writing a book about the global promotion of nuclear “solutions,” especially in the developing world, from 1945 to the present.  This history is drawn from archival work at the International Atomic Energy Agency and many other sources. It will draw attention to unfamiliar linkages, such as those among environmental rhetoric, nuclear technology, petroleum interests, and arms deals.  His essay in Diplomatic History on the nuclearization Iran is representative of the project’s aims, as is an earlier essay on conflict between IAEA and FAO published in History and Technology.

For the most recent updates, see


Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013)

     *Winner, 2014 Paul Birdsall Prize, American Historical Association, for best book in military or strategic history

Poison in the Well: Radioactive Waste in the Oceans at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2008)

Oceanographers and the Cold War: Disciples of Marine Science (Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2005)

Articles and Book Chapters

  1. (with Linda M. Richards), “Beyond the Lucky Dragon: Japanese Scientists and Fallout Discourse in the 1950s,” Historia Scientiarum: International Journal of the History of Science Society of Japan 25:1 (2015), 36-56.
  2. “Quickening Nature’s Pulse: Atomic Agriculture at the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Dynamis 35:2 (2015), 389-408.
  3. “Reagan’s Environmental Legacy,” in Andrew L. Johns, ed., A Companion to Ronald Reagan (Malden, Mass.: Wiley, 2015), pp. 257-275.
  4.  “Seeing the Oceans in the Shadow of Bergen Values,” Isis 105:2 (2014), 352-363.
  5. “The Nuclearization of Iran in the 1970s,” Diplomatic History 38:5 (2014), 1114-1135.
  6. “The Vulnerability of Nations: Food Security in the Aftermath of World War II,” Global Environment 10 (2012) [actually published in July 2013], 42-65
  7. “Environmental Dimensions of World War II,” in Thomas W. Zeiler, ed., with Daniel M. DuBois, A Companion to World War II (Malden, Mass.: Wiley, 2013), 698-716.
  8. “Fukushima and the Motifs of Nuclear History,” Environmental History 17:2 (2012), 285-299.
  9. “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.
  10. “Environmentalism for the Atlantic Alliance: NATO’s Experiment with the ‘Challenges of Modern Society,’” Environmental History 15:1 (2010), 54-75.
  11. “Let there be Light… and Bread: the United Nations, the Developing World, and Atomic Energy’s Green Revolution,” History and Technology 25 (2009), 25-48
  12. “Gods and Devils in the Details: Marine Pollution, Radioactive Waste, and an Environmental Regime circa 1972,” Diplomatic History 32 (2008), 539-560
  13. “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
  14. “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
  15. “‘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
  16. “Exorcising Ghosts in the Age of Automation: United Nations Experts and Atoms for Peace,” Technology and Culture 47 (2006), 734–756
  17. “Hallowed Lords of the Sea: Scientific Authority and Radioactive Waste in the United States, Britain, and France,” Osiris 21 (2006), 209–228
  18. “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.
  19. “Environmental Diplomacy in the Cold War: the Disposal of Radioactive Waste at Sea during the 1960s,” International History Review 24:2 (2002), 348–375
  20. “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
  21. “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
  22. “Science and North-South Sentiment: International Oceanography in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, 1950–1966," Historisch-Meereskundliches Jahrbuch 8 (2001), 89–102
  23. “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
  24. “Science in Isolation: American Marine Geophysics Research, 1950–1968,” Physics in Perspective 2:3 (2000), 293–312 
My Publications