Departmental Papers (HSS)

Document Type

Review

Date of this Version

2003

Publication Source

Bulletin of the History of Medicine

Volume

77

Issue

3

Start Page

747

Last Page

748

DOI

10.1353/bhm.2003.0123

Abstract

The British biological warfare laboratory established at Porton Down in 1940 occupies a special niche in the history of science and war. It has been a restricted and highly controlled space for the production of secret knowledge, and it has provoked sustained and enduring public controversy since as early as 1948. It has operated at the margin between the public and the secret, between offensive and defensive knowledge of pathogens, and between military research and health-care research. True and untrue rumors of novel diseases, infected research animals, accients, suspicious deaths, and long-term contamination have focused on the facility for decades. The laboratory's staff scientists have also published many hundreds of respectable papers in scientific and medical journals. Porton Down is a place where the contradictions of twentieth-century biomedical science are clear and compelling.

Copyright/Permission Statement

Copyright © 2003 Lindee, Susan. This article first appeared in Bulletin of the History of Medicine 77:3 (2003), 747-748. Reprinted with permission by Johns Hopkins University Press.

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Date Posted: 24 October 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.