Edited by Pierluigi Barrotta and Giovanni Scarafile
[Controversies 13] 2018
► pp. 165–184
Chapter 9. The political use of science
The historical case of Soviet cosmology
From 1927 Stalin imposed several restrictions on scientific community, as well as the ideological distinction between ‘progressive’ and ‘bourgeois’ science. Dialectical materialism became a dogma for Soviet astronomy: only the cosmological model of an infinite and eternal Universe seemed to be really ‘scientific’, since it appeared to exclude God. Claiming a beginning of space and time, the Big Bang theory was generally interpreted as a ‘bourgeois’ invention supporting creationism. Ideological influence on cosmology increased after 1945. The situation changed with Stalin’s death (1953), when Soviet astronomers undertook a serious confrontation with Western cosmology. My aim is to expose the strategies used by the Stalinian astronomy to oppose Western cosmology and the aspects of the new debate with it after 1953.