Plutônio em Latour (1999)

Let us suppose, for example, that a historian is studying the military decisions and programs of France during World War II. As we have seen, operations of translation made Joliot’s laboratory indispensable to the conducting of French military affairs. Now, Joliot himself could not get his reactor to start except by discovering a new radioactive element, plutonium, which kicks off the chain reaction far more easily. Historians of military affairs, following the series of translations, must inevitably become interested in the history of plutonium; more precisely, this inevitability is a function of Joliot’s work and his success. Given scientists’ activities over the last three or four hundred years, how long can one study a military man before finding oneself in a laboratory? At most a quarter of an hour if one studies postwar science, and maybe an hour if one is dealing with the previous century (McNeill 1982 ; Alder 1997). Consequently, to write military history without looking at the laboratories that make up this history is an [112] absurdity. It is not a matter of disciplinary principles, knowing whether or not one has the right to approach history without paying attention to science and technology; it is a question of fact – whether or not the players studied by historians mixed their lives and their feelings with nonhumans mobilized by laboratories and scientific professions. If the answer is yes, as it most certainly is in this example, it is unthinkable not to put back into the game the plutonium that Joliot and the military used, in their different ways, to make war and peace. (Latour 1999:111-2)

LATOUR, Bruno. 1999. Pandora’s Hope: essays on the reality of science studies. London: Harvard University Press.