All posts by Bruce Hunt

26 March 2021 — 12:00 noon — online

Johnny Miri (independent scholar)

“Vannevar Bush and Cold War Science Policy”

Vannevar Bush is best remembered for his leadership of American military research during World War II, overseeing the creation of such formidable technologies as the atomic fission bomb, radar, and the proximity fuse. In the closing stages of the war, Bush prepared the groundbreaking report Science: The Endless Frontier, outlining his vision for America’s postwar scientific organization. Yet in the years immediately following Allied victory, Bush experienced a rapid fall from power, leaving government service entirely in 1948. In this talk, I will examine the various factors that led to Bush’s decline, specifically his loss of powerful allies, political missteps, and feuds with the military. The story of Bush’s fall provides a backdrop for a careful consideration of the postwar trend of institutionalization of American science policy. I argue that this shift was more gradual than previously assumed, and that postwar institutions were shaped by the personal networks that preceded them. Finally, I discuss some of the broader implications of Bush’s fall, especially the rise of military patronage of American science.


Johnny Miri is an independent scholar living in Austin, whose interest in the field began at the Lone Star History of Science Group. His research focuses on the history of American science in the mid-20th century, particularly the interim years between World War II and the Cold War. His first scholarly article is forthcoming in the September 2021 issue of Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences.


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5 March 2021 — 12:00 noon — online

Jan Todd (UT Stark Center)

Weights and War: Thomas L. DeLorme and the Transformation of Rehabilitative Medicine”

In the latter years of the Second World War, the number of American servicemen who had sustained orthopedic injuries was overwhelming the nation’s military hospitals. The backlog of patients was due, in part, to the sheer number of soldiers involved in the war effort, but it was exacerbated by rehabilitation protocols which required lengthy recovery times. In 1945, an army physician and active weightlifter, Dr. Thomas L. DeLorme, experimented with a new rehabilitation technique. DeLorme’s new protocol consisted of multiple sets of resistance exercises in which patients lifted their ten-repetition maximum. The high intensity program, which he called Progressive Resistance Exercise,  was markedly more successful than older rehabilitation protocols and it was quickly adopted as the new standard in all military and most civilian physical therapy programs. Further, DeLorme’s academic publications on progressive resistance exercise helped legitimize strength training and played a key role in laying the foundation for the scientific study of resistance exercise.  Dr. Jason Shurley of the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater was my research partner and is co-author on this project.


Professor Jan Todd directs the Physical Culture and Sport Studies Doctoral Program in UT’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Education. She is also the founder (with her late husband Terry Todd) of the H. J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports and serves as its director. Todd’s research examines the history of exercise and body culture with a special emphasis on the history of strength and sports medicine.  Her most recent book is Strength Coaching in America: A History of the Innovation that Transformed Sports (UT Press, 2019; coauthored with Jason Shurley and Terry Todd).


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