Professor of History

Office: 541-737-3503

Ballard Extension Hall

Ballard Extension Hall 330B

2591 SW Campus Way

2591 SW Campus Way
Corvallis, OR 97331
Additional Information: 


1. (edited, with Linda Marie Richards) Making the Unseen Visible: Science and the Contested Histories of Radiation Exposure (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2023)

2. The Wretched Atom: America's Global Gamble with Peaceful Nuclear Technology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021)

*Winner, 2022 Frances Fuller Victor Prize in general nonfiction at the Literary Arts Oregon Book Awards

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

*Winner, 2016 Helen Miles Davis and Watson Davis Prize, History of Science Society, for best book for a general audience

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

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

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

6. Science in the Early Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia (Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 2005)

Articles and Book Chapters

  1. (and Linda M. Richards) “Connecting to the Living History of Radiation Exposure,” Journal of the History of Biology 54 (2021), 1-6.
  2. “Aligning Missions: Nuclear Technical Assistance, the IAEA, and National Ambitions in Pakistan,” History and Technology 36:34 (2020), 437-451.
  3. “An American Miracle in the Desert: Environmental Crisis and Nuclear-Powered Desalination in the Middle East,” in Nature and the Iron Curtain: Environmental Policy and Social Movements in Communist and Capitalist Countries, 1945-1990, edited by Astrid Mignon Kirchhoff and J. R. McNeill (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019), 205-218.
  4. “Access Denied: The Continuing Challenge to Environmental Sciences in the Trump Era,” Environmental History 23:1 (2018), 1-8.
  5. “‘A Glaring Defect in the System:’ Nuclear Safeguards and the Invisibility of Technology,” in Liviu Horovitz and Roland Poppp, eds., Negotiating the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty: Origins of the Nuclear Order (Routledge, 2016), 203-219.
  6. (and 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.
  7. “Quickening Nature’s Pulse: Atomic Agriculture at the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Dynamis 35:2 (2015), 389-408.
  8. “Ronald Reagan’s Environmental Legacy,” in Andrew L. Johns, ed., A Companion to Ronald Reagan (Malden, Mass.: Wiley, 2015), pp. 257-275.
  9. “Seeing the Oceans in the Shadow of Bergen Values,” Isis 105:2 (2014), 352-363.
  10. “The Nuclearization of Iran in the 1970s,” Diplomatic History 38:5 (2014), 1114-1135.
  11. “The Vulnerability of Nations: Food Security in the Aftermath of World War II,” Global Environment 10 (2012) [actually published in July 2013], 42-65
  12. “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.
  13. “Fukushima and the Motifs of Nuclear History,” Environmental History 17:2 (2012), 285-299.
  14. “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.
  15. “Environmentalism for the Atlantic Alliance: NATO’s Experiment with the ‘Challenges of Modern Society,’” Environmental History 15:1 (2010), 54-75.
  16. “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
  17. “Gods and Devils in the Details: Marine Pollution, Radioactive Waste, and an Environmental Regime circa 1972,” Diplomatic History 32 (2008), 539-560
  18. “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
  19. “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
  20. “‘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
  21. “Exorcising Ghosts in the Age of Automation: United Nations Experts and Atoms for Peace,” Technology and Culture 47 (2006), 734–756
  22. “Hallowed Lords of the Sea: Scientific Authority and Radioactive Waste in the United States, Britain, and France,” Osiris 21 (2006), 209–228
  23. “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.
  24. “Environmental Diplomacy in the Cold War: the Disposal of Radioactive Waste at Sea during the 1960s,” International History Review 24:2 (2002), 348–375
  25. “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
  26. “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
  27. “Science and North-South Sentiment: International Oceanography in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, 1950–1966," Historisch-Meereskundliches Jahrbuch 8 (2001), 89–102
  28. “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
  29. “Science in Isolation: American Marine Geophysics Research, 1950–1968,” Physics in Perspective 2:3 (2000), 293–312

Profile Field Tabs


Jacob Darwin Hamblin writes about the history and politics of science, technology, and environmental issues. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Science, Salon, and The American Scientist, and his peer-reviewed essays have appeared in Isis, Diplomatic History, Environmental History, Technology and Culture, and many other academic journals. He has published dozens of book reviews.

Hamblin's most recent book, The Wretched Atom: America's Global Gamble with Peaceful Nuclear Technology, won the Oregon Book Award for general nonfiction. It focuses on the 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 draws attention to unfamiliar connections among environmental rhetoric, nuclear technology, petroleum interests, and arms deals.

Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism, the winner of two major book prizes, 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.

Hamblin created H-Environment Roundtable Reviews and edited more than thirty of them from 2010-2015. He commissioned and edited essay reviews for Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences from 2011-2015, and has served as advisory editor for that journal continuously since 2011. He was advisory editor of Isis from 2009-2011, and was on the advisory board of Environmental History from 2013-2018. He has chaired the selection committees for the George Perkins Marsh Prize for best book in environmental history, Phil Pauly Prize for best first book in the history of science in North America, and the Usher Prize for best essay in Technology in Culture. He has directed three different graduate programs at Oregon State University, and currently he directs the university’s Environmental Arts and Humanities Initiative.

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Affiliated with: 
School of History, Philosophy, and Religion
Courses Taught: 

HST 481 Environmental History of the United States (4)

HSTS 414 History of Twentieth-Century Science (4) 

HSTS 421 History of Technology (4)

HSTS 413 Science in the Age of Empires (4) 

EAH 512/HSTS 599 Environmental Science in Context/The Environmental Age

Research/Career Interests: 

Affiliated MPP Faculty

Policy Areas: History of Science, History of Technology, Environmental History. 

PhD: University of California, Santa Barbara

MPP Faculty
SPP Concentration: 
No Concentration
SPP Program: 
Affiliated Faculty