Postdoc position for a historian of science and technology

Department of Science Studies, Aarhus University

Project “Exploring Greenland: Science and Technology in Cold War Settings”

“Exploring Greenland” is a comprehensive research project funded by the Carlsberg Foundation. It has the goal to investigate the development of research activities in the geophysical sciences and in nuclear technology in Greenland in the Cold War period. Due to its utmost strategic importance, the US military as well as the Danish government funded new research efforts heavily. The project consist of a number of subprojects covering disciplines like geology, meteorology and climatology, glaciology, nuclear technology and others. The selected candidate will be responsible for the subproject “Measuring the heavens: Cold War and ionospheric research in Greenland”.

In terms of manpower and economic resources ionospheric research was one of the largest ongoing scientific activities in post war Greenland. Because of its ability to reflect radio waves the ionosphere is of vital importance for radio communication. In the arctic region and especially inside the auroral zone the ionospheric conditions are particularly complex and periods with high absorption of radio waves (“blackout”) occur frequently. Both Denmark and the USA increased efforts in ionospheric research significantly since the early 1950s.

The subproject will explore these research activities and seek an answer to questions like the following: Which ionospheric research activities were pursued in Greenland? To what extent did the military presence and interests foster ionospheric research? Did it influence the choice of research topics? What links existed between Danish efforts and U.S. military interests? The project will be based on intensive archival research mainly in Denmark and the USA and the conduction of interviews with relevant scientists. Expected is a close cooperation with the other subprojects.


• Several years experience and a strong record in the history of science and technology

• Knowledge of the Danish language or the willingness to acquire sufficient Danish reading skills within short time

• Basic knowledge of physics and the atmospheric sciences

• Ability and willingness to work in an international research team and contribute to the common goals of the project

Particularly encouraged are scholars with research experience in the history of Cold War science and technology. Experience with and a good knowledge of Danish or Greenland history will be an advantage. The position will be filled for a period of two years and six months.

For more information please contact: Matthias Heymann, [email protected] .

Please find the full announcement on Applications must be made online through the electronic system which is linked to the full announcement.


All applications must be received by: 9 April 2010.