Exploring Greenland

Science and Technology in Cold War Settings

Research project financed by the Carlsberg Foundation 2010-13

The territory of Greenland was of the highest strategic interest to the super powers during the Cold War and of pivotal significance for the political relationship between Denmark and the United States. The military activities demanded new knowledge on many levels and help from many different disciplines. In this way, Greenland became a region of high interest for scientific and technological research.

Comprehensive investigations on post-war science and technology in Greenland beyond limited overviews or single research fields do not exist. The present project aims at providing a more comprehensive historical account and a deeper understanding of post-war scientific and technological research activities involving nuclear technology and the physical earth sciences in Greenland (and Denmark, within larger European and transnational contexts) for the Cold War period.

The project aims at exploring:

  1. which research activities were pursued and what results were achieved in the selected disciplines in Greenland in the Cold War period,
  2. how research efforts were influenced by geopolitical, military, colonial or environmental interests and, vice versa, had an impact on these interests,
  3. how research activities in Greenland were framed and communicated to scientific and public audiences.