The Jasons: Book summary and reviews of The Jasons by Ann K. Finkbeiner

The Jasons

The Secret History of Science's Postwar Elite

by Ann K. Finkbeiner

The Jasons by Ann K. Finkbeiner

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Book Summary

They call themselves Jason. Their group is a child of the Manhattan Project by way of the cold war, and they have counted among their ranks scientific stars like Freeman Dyson and Murray Gell-Mann, and among their mentors Edward Teller and Hans Bethe. They’ve inherited a mission from the Manhattan Project - to counsel the government on the military uses of pure science - and have gathered every summer since 1960 to solve highly classified problems for the Department of Defense and the intelligence community. Aside from a brief media firestorm during the Vietnam War, they’ve worked in utter secrecy with unparalleled freedom.

Fiercely patriotic and stubbornly independent, the Jasons have been directly responsible for breakthroughs ranging from the electronic battlefield to "Star Wars" missile defense technology to the national system for predicting global climate. But their mission to keep a vigil over applied science has led them into both moral dilemmas and political stews. In this spellbinding and meticulously researched history, science writer Ann Finkbeiner reveals the critical scientific advances - and the unintended consequences - of the Jasons' shadowy work as well as the fascinating personalities of the Jasons themselves.

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Media Reviews

"The current Washington climate has decreased Jason's influence, but this portrait of the group will prompt hopes that it can find a way to reassert itself." - Kirkus.

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