After a deadly 1958 nuclear reactor accident in Vinča, Yugoslavia, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) engaged in intensive nuclear diplomacy to assemble a major international scientific experiment on radiation dosimetry at the accident site. The 1960 Vinča Dosimetry Experiment made history as the first multinational “big science” project in this field. It was also a significant political victory for the young IAEA, which had been struggling to prove its value in the international community. The story of the successful mounting of the Vinča Dosimetry Experiment highlights the complex interplay between the material culture of science and diplomacy and internationalist ideas. The experiment can therefore be described as a case of “materialized internationalism,” whose material and political dimensions were mutually constitutive.

Toshihiro Higuchi, Jacques E. C. Hymans

08 February 2021

Materialized internationalism: How the IAEA made the Vinča Dosimetry Experiment, and how the experiment made the IAEA