Is Science Diplomacy on Hold?

Programs, Lectures & Talks
Monday, June 13, 2022
4:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
Maison de la Chimie
28, Rue Saint-Dominique
75007 Paris

Given the dramatic geopolitical changes of the last months, science diplomacy, once primarily considered soft power, seems to have been put on hold. Even worse, in the blink of an eye, science diplomacy has been transformed into an instrument of hard power that aims to coerce Moscow and influence Putin’s military brutalities and Russia’s international affairs.

This panel brings together academics, science advisors, and science policymakers to discuss not whether science diplomacy is “the right tool for the job” in the war in Ukraine, but to reconsider what science diplomacy is and how strong academic disciplines such as philosophy and history can apply their methodology to help us understand the role of science in times of international crisis and war.


  • Maria Rentetzi
    2021 Cain Conference Fellow
    Chair for Science, Technology, and Gender Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg



  • Aristides Baltas
    Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Science, National Technical University of Athens
    Former Minister of Culture of Greece
  • Melissa Denecke
    Director, Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences, Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, International Atomic Energy Agency
  • Joachim Hornegger
    President, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
  • Gabriella Ivacs
    Head, Archives and Records Management Section, International Atomic Energy Agency
  • John Krige
    Kranzberg Professor Emeritus, School of History and Sociology, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Angela Liberatore
    Head of the Scientific Department, European Research Council Executive Agency


Conference Organizer


Maria Rentetzi headshot

Courtesy of Maria Rentetzi

Maria Rentetzi is chair for science, technology, and gender studies in the faculty of humanities, social sciences, and theology at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. She has been trained as a physicist and as a historian of science and technology. Her research focuses on two intertwined areas of inquiry: the investigation of the politically and historically situated character of technoscience and the critical examination of gender as a major analytic category in technoscientific endeavors. As part of her ERC Consolidator Grant project Rentetzi currently leads the development of what she calls “The Diplomatic Studies of Science.” This is a highly interdisciplinary field of research at the intersection of science and technology studies, history of science, diplomatic history, political sciences, and international affairs. Before joining FAU, she was a guest professor at the Technische Universität Berlin and a professor of history and sociology of science and technology at the National Technical University of Athens.


About the Gordon Cain Conference

This public event is held as part of the rescheduled 2021 Gordon Cain Conference, Diplomatic Studies of Science: The Interplay of Science, Technology, and International Affairs after the Second World War, taking place June 13–14, 2022.

The Gordon Cain Conference is a gathering of scholars in the history of science and related fields. Each conference is organized by an eminent scholar who worked with staff to develop a theme of broad contemporary relevance. Centered on a topic chosen by the conference organizer, the conference consists of an evening public lecture, a symposium, and a collected volume. It is hosted by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry and supported by a generous gift from Gordon Cain.

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