By Sarah McPhee
UW History PhD alumna Kate Brown has been repeatedly honored throughout 2014, and most recently at the ASEEES conference with the Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize, for her monograph Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters. The work draws upon official records and personal interviews to tell the story of Richland, Washington and Ozersk, Russia, the first two cities in the world to produce plutonium.
Both cities were insular state secrets where families of scientists and workers lived in “highly-subsidized, limited-access atomic cities.” A definitive account of both cities, Plutopia explores the environmental tragedies and personal costs of the nuclear arms race during the Cold War.
While Plutopia was awarded by ASEEES in 2014, Dr. Brown offered an interview in 2013 for New Books in History, a website devoted to the discussion of the most contemporary historical research.
Kate Brown is currently a professor of history at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.