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ABSTRACT Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Cold War looks ever more like a slice of history rather than a contemporary reality. During those same twenty years, scholarship on science, technology, and the state during the Cold War era has expanded dramatically. Building on major studies of physics in the American context—often couched in terms of “big science”—recent work has broached scientific efforts in other domains as well, scrutinizing Cold War scholarship in increasingly international and comparative frameworks. The essays in this Focus section take stock of current thinking about science and the Cold War, revisiting the question of how best to understand tangled (and sometimes surprising) relationships between government patronage and the world of ideas.
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