Calendar of Events
Visualizing the Bomb: New Frontiers for Communication about the Effects of Nuclear Weapons
Speaker: Alex Wellerstein, Stevens Institute of Technology
Abstract: Over ten years ago, I created the NUKEMAP as an online digital tool for visualizing nuclear weapons effects and making them comprehensible and personal. A mashup of web map visualization and Cold War weapons equations, NUKEMAP has been used by tens of millions of people worldwide. Since then, I have been experimenting with other ways to use widely accessible digital technologies to capture and communicate the scope and scale of the violence done by nuclear weapons, with an aim at helping people, especially younger people, understand these often unfathomable technologies. In this talk, I will discuss my thoughts on the history of visual communication about nuclear weapons, as a historian, as well as present work in progress on several efforts of mine that try to imagine new possibilities for nuclear weapons communication for 21st-century audiences.
Author Bio: Alex Wellerstein is Associate Professor and Director of Science and Technology Studies at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. He is a historian of nuclear weapons, and received a PhD in the History of Science from Harvard University in 2010. He is best known creating the NUKEMAP, the world’s most popular online nuclear weapons effects visualization tool. His popular writing has been featured in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Harper’s Magazine, among other venues. His first book, Restricted Data: The History of Nuclear Secrecy was published by the University of Chicago in 2021. His next book is a new interpretation of Harry Truman and the atomic bomb, and is expected from HarperCollins in 2025.
Host: Jolie Cizewski