Transforming the Relationship between Science and Society: Interpreting the Manhattan Project
On February 14-15, 2013, the Atomic Heritage Foundation (AHF) hosted a workshop in Washington, DC: "Transforming the Relationship between Science and Society: Interpreting the Manhattan Project." The workshop, funded by the National Science Foundation, brought together historians, scientists, museum experts, and representatives of the National Park Service, Department of Energy and Manhattan Project museums from across the country. The goals of the workshop were to develop ideas for interpreting the controversial history and legacy of the Manhattan Project for a national traveling exhibit. By taking on a subject that is as complex and multifaceted as the Manhattan Project, the workshop also sought to advance interdisciplinary scholarship and informal education in the science museum field. The two-day workshop was organized around the following session topics: What the Public Needs to Know about the Manhattan Project, Communicating Science and its Social Context in an ISE Setting, Moral Responsibilities of Scientists, Decision to Drop the Bomb, Culture of Secrecy, National Security State, Cold War: Avoiding Armageddon, and Lessons from the Manhattan Project for Today. Each session began with a 15-minute presentation by one or more experts in that topic; a discussion with all workshop participants then followed. At the end of the workshop, participants discussed their recommendations for next steps. This report provides a summary of the workshop proceedings.