Den forsinkede frygt: Atombomber, radioaktivitet og videnstransformation i dagspressen 1945 - 9163

Translated title of the contribution: Transformation of Science to Common Sense Notions. Radioisotopes and Fear of Nuclear Fall-out in Danish Public Opinion 1945-1963

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Abstract

This article analyses the representation of scientific knowledge about radioactivity in Danish newspapers 1945-1963. We have wondered why knowledge dissemination in Danish popular media and newspapers about possible effects of nuclear fall-out was so seemingly non-worrisome until the end of the 1950’s. The article takes its point of departure in Serge Moscovici’s theory on social representation. According to Moscovici for the public to form an opinion, scientific knowledge must transform into notions people can relate to in their everyday life. The article demonstrates how the scientific knowledge behind information to the public gradually changed from nuclear physics to biology and medicine, and how the geographic location related to radioactive fall-out at the same time changed from Japan/The Pacific Ocean to Denmark. Detection of radioisotopes in rainwater, in milk, in grain growing on Danish fields and in the sand on the beach combined in 1959-61 with worries about what might happen to the human body if exposed to radioisotopes,and raised concerns to a much larger degree than before. The way scientific knowledge was circulated in the media is an important part of the explanation why the debate about nuclear fall-out did not take off in a Danish context before c. 1960.

Translated title of the contributionTransformation of Science to Common Sense Notions. Radioisotopes and Fear of Nuclear Fall-out in Danish Public Opinion 1945-1963
Original languageDanish
JournalTEMP - tidsskrift for historie
Volume21
Pages (from-to)126-155
Number of pages29
ISSN1904-5565
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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