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Creating the Cold War University: The Transformation of Stanford Hardcover – July 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1ST edition (July 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520205413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520205413
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,272,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Lowen studies one particular case, carefully and with much new information, then suggests a general interpretation that is more penetrating than anything we have had before on the subject."—Spencer R. Weart, author of Nuclear Fear

"The scholarship is superior; Lowen has been both imaginative and rigorous. She deals with a place limited in size but with problems that are not limited, and she is able to show the connections between the specific and the general."—Sigmund Diamond, author of Compromised Campus

From the Back Cover

"Lowen studies one particular case, carefully and with much new information, then suggests a general interpretation that is more penetrating than anything we have had before on the subject." (Spencer R. Weart, author of Nuclear Fear)

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 14, 1997
Format: Hardcover
With intelligence, clarity and humor, historian Rebecca Lowen shows what changed the Americanuniversity from an education-oriented to research-oriented institution anxious to grab a share of Cold War defense spending. Stanford University is her case study and its intriguing and famous staff and alums her cast of characters.
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"Creating the Cold War University- The Transformation of Stanford" by Rebecca S. Lowen is an interesting book about how Stanford became wealthy in the 50's and the 60's thanks to federal money and industry contracts. Frederick Terman, often credited as being the father of Silicon Valley, called it a "Win-Win-Win" situation. The government funded basic and applied research (the difference between the two was often fuzzy) to develop military applications during the Cold War, the industry developed the products from the results of the research (and did not always have to directly fund the research), and companies like H-P, Varian, GE benefited greatly the effort. Finally Stanford became wealthy as well as excellent in research (which it was not in the 30's).

Lowen explains that "by 1960, the federal government was spending close to $1B for academic research and university-affiliated research centers, 79 percent of which went to just twenty universities, including Stanford, Berkeley, Caltech, MIT, Harvard and the University of Michigan" (page147). In the Shanghai ranking, Harvard is #1, Stanford is #2, Berkeley is #3, MIT is #5, Caltech is #6 and Michigan #18 only.

Money definitely helps. I had however reacted against the argument as military money can not explain by itself the entrepreneurial spirit that Boston and Silicon Valley developed. Caltech and its JPL laboratory never reached the same start-up activity. But the quality of universities and their wealth is an extremely strong ingredient for successful technology clusters.
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7 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. E. Siegman on December 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A previous reviewer says this book describes the Cold War conversion of Stanford University "from an education-oriented to [a] research-oriented institution". Might just note that both Stanford's founder and its first president held strongly expressed views that research -- particularly including quite applied research -- was an essential element of university education. Stanford was research-oriented, as an essential part of being education-oriented, from day one, in 1891.
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