The conceptual analysis of standardization is key to understanding scientific work at the interface of laboratory and clinical or industrial practice. In the case of the IAEA, the standardization of instruments, measuring devices, units of measurement, objects, procedures, and technical vocabulary has been a technical-cum-political enterprise: a tool for governing the world. We aim to identify the social and political aims behind these standards and focus on the most important controversies among scientists, their relations to diplomats and politicians, as well as the IAEA’s decision to adopt a new metrological system in the mid-1960s. Since the standardization process requires a tremendous amount of human labor, we investigate the gender profile of those working in radiation protection. Drawing on the philosophy of science we also explore the notion of standardization as a theoretical framework for understanding the set of practices that surround acts of radiation protection.
HRP-IAEA has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.
Grant Agreement number: 770548 — HRP-IAEA — ERC-2017-COG