[Sigmetrics] call for papers: Claiming authority, producing standards:The IAEA and the history of radiation protection

Maria Rentetzi mrentetz at vt.edu
Fri Oct 2 09:58:42 EDT 2015

  *call for papers: Claiming authority, producing standards:**The IAEA and
the history of radiation protection*

*Organizers: *

Martin Kusch, Department of Philosophy, University of Vienna

Maria Rentetzi, Lise Meitner Fellow (FWF), Department of Philosophy,
University of Vienna

*Venue:* University of Vienna, Institute for Philosophy

*Dates:* 3-4 June 2016

*Keynote speakers: *

*Angela Creager*, Thomas M. Siebel Professor in the History of Science,
Princeton University

*Jacob Darwin Hamblin*, Professor of History, Oregon State University

*Deadline for submission:* 31 January 2016

This workshop seeks to bring together scholars working on the history of
radiation protection and the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency
in shaping, standardizing, and controlling this field. We are interested in
papers employing historical, philosophical, or sociological methods in
order to investigate the notion of standardization as political, and to
critically analyze those legal, political, and diplomatic interests that
have shaped radiation protection standards in all major areas of radiation
exposure.  We wish to focus especially (but not exclusively) on the role of
the International Atomic Energy Agency as scientific, metrological and –
above all -- political organization responsible for (inter alia) the
standardization and development of codes of practices in radiotherapy and
diagnostics; for supporting the implementation in hospitals and calibration
laboratories; for producing codes of conduct on the safety of radioactive
waste and spend fuel management; for providing advisory services to all
United Nations Members States; and for leading the international
coordination of major institutions in the field such as the International
Radiation Protection Association and the World Health Organization.

Radiation protection—the science and practices of preventing harmful
effects resulting from ionizing radiation to humans and the environment—has
a long history. Since the discovery of radioactivity more than a century
ago, scientists have attempted to introduce radiation protection standards.
Such standards are specifications and criteria for the evaluation of
biological effects of radiation to human tissues and of the harmful effects
to the environment. In the early days, producing such standards faced many
challenges: how to define the appropriate unit of radiation; how to invent
suitable measurement devices; how to detect, and agree on, the effects of
radiation on biological systems; or how to settle the acceptable risk to
radiation exposure. The evolution of standards, and the controversies that
emerged, reflect the complexity of scientists' collaborative production and
dissemination of what eventually comes to be considered as objective and
reliable knowledge. It also reveals the powerful role of those scientific
institutions that assumed the task to create these standards. From the
British Roentgen Society, and its first recommendations to users of x-ray
technologies in 1915, to the establishment of the field of "health physics"
at the Met Lab of the University of Chicago during World War II, scientific
institutions enforced new attitudes towards acceptable risk, permissible
radiation doses, and radiation protection.

After World War II the rapid development and adoption of new medical
technologies -- such as the radioisotope teletherapy units and the
development of nuclear industry -- posed numerous challenges in the field
of radiation protection. During the era of what has been known as “the
peaceful uses” of nuclear energy, the IAEA gradually took the lead in the
field of radiation protection.  At the same time it plays a crucial role in
an exceptionally broad range of scientific and political matters: the
establishment of nuclear industry worldwide, the provision of technical
assistance, the education of generations of scientists in nuclear matters
all over the world, the exercise of political power in order to safeguard
the use of nuclear energy and to control the several national nuclear

Today, the renewed interest in nuclear power plants and the use of advanced
medical technologies pose new challenges to the field of radiation
protection. IRPA's 2012 conference theme, "Living with Radiation, Engaging
with Society" leaves no doubt that radiation protection is indeed a social
and political concern.

We would like to make visible the tensions between politics and science in
the field of radiation protection. Thus we invite papers primarily on the
following topics:

1.             *the notion of standardization* as a theoretical framework
for understanding the set of practices that surround acts of radiation

2.             *the history of radiation protection* in relation to major
scientific and international organizations with our main focus on the role
of the IAEA;

3.             *standards, radiation units, and notions of radiation risk*:
What have been the changing notions of risk in relation to radiation? How
have these notions shaped scientists' ideas about standards and radiation

4.             *the collaboration between IAEA and WHO*: What kinds of
research agendas have shaped the IAEA/WHO collaboration in the field of
radiation protection?

5.             *the role of international organizations *in the production
and circulation of knowledge about the effects of radiation on humans and
the environment;

6.             *the handling and transportation of radioactive materials
and waste*: What kind of diplomatic issues have arisen in relation to
radioactive disposal for example? How have these issues shaped
environmental policy making and public opinions around radiation

Please send extended abstracts of 500 words and a one page cv to
mrentetz at vt.edu by January 31, 2016.

Maria Rentetzi
Lise Meitner Fellow
Institut für Philosophie <http://online.univie.ac.at/inst?inum=A464>
1010 Wien, Universitätsstraße 7 (NIG)
T: +43-1-4277-46425
eFax: +43-1-4277-846425

Associate Professor
National Technical University of Athens
Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
School of Applied Mathematics and Physical Sciences
Zografou Campus, Zografou 15780
Athens, Greece
tel. +30 210 6106537 , fax +30 210 7721618
Email: mrentetz at vt.edu
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