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Laura Harkewicz Transforms Her Dissertation into a Creative Nonfiction Project on 1954 Bravo Hydrogen Bomb Test

Laura Harkewicz

IAS faculty member Laura Harkewicz transforms her dissertation into a creative nonfiction project at the annual Pacific Northwest History and Philosophy of Science Workshop.  Harkewicz’s project discusses the medical program that was developed in response to the radioactive fallout exposure of over 200 Marshall Islanders from the 1954 Bravo hydrogen bomb test – the largest nuclear device ever tested by the U.S.  Although most scholars agree that the exposure was a tragic accident, popular accounts continue to portray the Marshallese as human guinea pigs, victims of scientific imperialism and Cold War atomic politics.  In her presentation, Harkewicz revealed how the Medical Program was made into a human radiation experiment.  She reflected on ways this story can become part of the most popular genre in the literary and publishing communities.