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Political history of secrecy, WikiLeaks is focus of Sheffrin Lecture in Public Policy

By Karen Nikos-Rose on May 27, 2011 in

Wednesday, June 1 — Peter Galison, the Pellegrino University Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University, will deliver the 2011 Sheffrin Lecture in Public Policy at 5 p.m. in the UC Davis Buehler Alumni and Visitor’s Center, AGR Hall.

Tracing the political history of secrecy from the Espionage Act to WikiLeaks, Galison analyzes the governing principles of what information had to be hidden. What dangers did each period identify among things that should be secret? What were the properties and assumed power of these secrets? What kind of thing could, in the end, properly be declared secret? The lecture is free and open to the public. It is hosted by the Center for Science and Innovation Studies and funded by a gift from Steven M. and Anjali Y. Sheffrin.

Galison was director, with Rob Moss, of “Secrecy” (2008) — a film about government secrecy. An official selection at the Sundance Film Festival, “Secrecy” has won several awards and international exposure. Galison’s previous film on the moral-political debates over the H-bomb, “Ultimate Weapon,” has been shown frequently on the History Channel. He was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1997 and the Max Planck and Humboldt Stiftung Prize in 1999. His books include “How Experiments End” (1987), “Image and Logic” (1997), “Einstein’s Clocks, Poincare’s Maps” (2003), and most recently “Objectivity’ (with L. Daston, 2007).

Directions and parking: From Interstate 80, take the UC Davis exit north on Old Davis Road, then park in the parking structure across the street from the Mondavi Center.

Media contact(s)

Karen Nikos-Rose, Research news (emphasis: arts, humanities and social sciences), 530-219-5472,

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