CEERES Director's Lecture - Kate Brown "The Chernobyl Acceleration"
3rd Annual CEERES Director’s Lecture
The Great Chernobyl Acceleration
Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 5:00 PM
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This event is free and open to the public
What do we know about the Chernobyl disaster? Working through Soviet archives, Historian Kate Brown encountered many contradictory accounts of the catastrophe and its effects. Local doctors reported “a public health disaster” among people exposed to Chernobyl fallout. International experts refuted that claim. Realizing that although people and archives lie, trees probably don’t, Brown turned to scientists to help her understand the ecology of the greater Chernobyl territories. She learned that contaminants saturated local eco-systems long before the Chernobyl accident and continued long after the 1986 event. Instead of a oneoff “accident,” Brown argues that Chernobyl was a point of acceleration on a timeline of radioactive contamination that continues to this day. Kate Brown is Professor of History in the Science, Technology and Society Department of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the author of Plutopia: Nuclear Families in Atomic Cities and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford 2013). Her latest book, Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future (Norton 2019), translated into nine languages, is a finalist for the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Award.