Imagining a ‘Jewish atom bomb’, constructing a scientific diaspora

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The nexus between transnational mobilization and Science and Technology Studies (STS) offers a productive platform for studying the formation of scientific activism, the influence of mobilization on scientific developments, and the ways science is used to achieve government goals. Integrating concepts from both sets of literature – particularly national sociotechnical imaginaries and socio-spatial positionality – this article explores how Dr Chaim Weizmann, a prominent chemist and a Zionist leader, attempted to construct and mobilize a ‘scientific diaspora’. Empirically, the article draws on new archival evidence, revealing the hitherto unknown early efforts of the Zionist movement to acquire nuclear reactor and utilize the Jewish involvement in the American nuclear project for political leverage abroad. Theoretically, rather than beginning the analysis with a scientific-diasporic network that was ready to be mobilized, we trace the selective and tailored practices employed by Weizmann to animate the Jewish connection among nuclear scientists and professionals.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)253-276
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Studies of Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Israel
  • international relations
  • nuclear weapons
  • science diplomacy
  • scientific diaspora
  • transnationalism

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • General Social Sciences


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