Did Space Physics Contribute to the Downfall of the Soviet Union?

LASP Science Seminars

Did Space Physics Contribute to the Downfall of the Soviet Union?

Juan Roederer (LASP)
September 10, 2020
16:00 MT/MDT
Zoom

Between 1958 and 2003, I visited the USSR/Russia 23 times on official missions related to international scientific cooperation sponsored by Committees and Asso-ciations of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), always hosted by the Soviet Academy of Sciences. This gave me an unparalleled real-time look “behind the curtain” of the mindboggling changes from Khrushchev to Putin. Based on a collage of well-illustrated personal anecdotes, I will discuss some lesser known yet crucial technological causes of the Soviet Union collapse, focusing in particular on why the space physics aspects of President Reagan’s quasi-bluff, the Strategic Defense Initiative, dealt a fatal blow to the Soviet military-technological establishment.

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