News and Events

Workshop impressions

Kerstin Altmann Opens Her Family Album


Kerstin Altmann, the daughter of the IAEA's second Director General, Sigvard Eklund, opened her family album for us to share historical pictures from her father's career. Under Eklund's leadership, the IAEA became a leading scientific and technical organization.

During its first decade, the IAEA was mainly a technical organization, led by the Swedish physicist Sigvard Eklund. It was a center for the exchange of nuclear data and information, and one of the few places during the Cold War where scientists from East and West cooperated closely together, an atmosphere that became proverbial in the “spirit of Vienna.” Eklund directed the IAEA from 1961 to 1981, when Hans Blix followed him as the third Director General.

As Altmann's collection of historical pictures shows, Eklund's career was also linked to the University of Vienna. In 1977, he was named an honorary senator ("Ehrensenator") of the University.

The Eklund years in historical pictures

Klaudija Sabo Receives Prize for Best Documentary


IAEA History Research 

Project filmmaker Klaudija Sabo receives the Ludo Hartmann Prize for her documentary "Auf der anderen Seite des Tisches," together with Annette Sprung. Congratulations!


IAEA History Workshop in Washington, D.C.


On 20 November 2015, the IAEA History Research Project organized a workshop at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The workshop brought together experts from the worlds of academia and practice to discuss the project's scope and activities.


The workshop brought together a group of top experts in the field, among them Thomas Shea (creative director of the PNNL oral history project on international safeguards), Jean Krasno (UN Oral History Project), and Francis Gavin (MIT).
Five interviews with former officials and diplomats were conducted and video-recorded at the location of the workshop. The interviewees were: John Carlson (Australia, on IAEA safeguards), Marco Marzo (Brazil, on ABACC-IAEA relations), Norman Wulf (USA, on the Additional Protocol), James Goodby (USA, on the creation of the IAEA), and former IAEA Deputy Director General David Waller (USA, on managing international organizations).

Meeting program for download.

Workshop in Cooperation with the VCDNP


On 19 August 2015, the IAEA History Research Project hosted a workshop on the history of the IAEA safeguards system, in cooperation with the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies and the Vienna Center for Nonproliferation and Disarmament (VCDNP).

The workshop brought together scholars and practitioners to examine new archival material made available by IAEA member states and in the IAEA itself. The discussions explored new avenues of research on the role of the IAEA in the global nuclear order. The workshop focused on how the IAEA carried out its changing responsibilities to disseminate and safeguard nuclear technology during the Cold War, and how states responded to these developments. The papers provided a truly international history, drawing on many new archival resources, which identified new avenues of research in years to come.

The workshop discussed these topics through three lenses: member state perspectives, institutional perspectives inside the IAEA, and practitioner perspectives. In our discussions, we brought together new sources and perspectives on the evolving nuclear order. This made it possible to explore previously neglected issues, such as how small states attempted to navigate (and, at times, circumvent) the emerging nonproliferation regime, bilateral relations between the IAEA and member states, and how the IAEA developed new resources and concepts in their effort to carry out new responsibilities. A concluding roundtable of experts discussed the evolution of the IAEA safeguards system, its legal foundations, and its implementation.

Workshop organizers: Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer and Elisabeth Roehrlich

Joseph F. Pilat, Laura Rockwood, Shirley Johnson, and Elisabeth Roehrlich at the concluding roundtable discussion

Report about IAEA History Research Project


The University of Vienna's online journal uni:view reports about the IAEA History Research Project.



The IAEA History Research Project Welcomes New Visiting Fellows


Eliza Gheorghe and Marko Miljkovic are the 2015 NPIHP Visiting Fellows in Vienna. There research stay in Vienna is made possible by the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project (NPIHP), funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Dr. Eliza Gheorghe is a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow in the Belfer Center's International Security Program (Havard University). She holds a doctorate in International Relations from the University of Oxford. She writes on reactive proliferation within alliances, nuclear technology transfers, nuclear sharing, and smuggling networks. Eliza was a fellow at the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies (2011-2014), a George Abernethy pre-doctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins University SAIS Center in Bologna (2013-2014), and a post-doctoral fellow at the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell University (2014-2015).

Marko Miljković is a PhD Candidate at the Department of History at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary. During his BA and MA studies at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, Serbia, and CEU, Marko studied the history of automobilism in Yugoslavia as a social, cultural and technological phenomenon. In his ongoing PhD studies at CEU, he is researching the history of the Yugoslav nuclear program, nested in a larger field of nuclear proliferation during the Cold War.

Eliza Gheorghe
Marco Miljkovic

Elisabeth Roehrlich Receives Elise Richter Prize


On 9 March 2015, Elisabeth Roehrlich was awarded the Elise Richter Prize of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).

The prize and related grant will enable Elisabeth Roehrlich to dedicate a multi-year research project on the international history of the IAEA's creation ("The Creation of the IAEA, 1953-1957, Austrian Science Fund (FWF), project number V-407).

Since its establishment in 1967, the FWF has acted as an institution with the purpose of promoting research. It seeks to aid the ongoing development of Austrian science and research on an international level by funding high quality research projects and developing human resources in research while, at the same time, emphasizing the interconnected nature of science and research with culture, economy, and society.  

Elisabeth Roehrlich with Barbara Weitgruber (Ministry of Science) and FWF Vice President Christine Mannhalter.

Article: The IAEA's Creation


Elisabeth Roehrlich's article on "The Cold War, the developing world, and the creation of the IAEA, 1953-1957" is published online by Cold War History.

This article argues that the creation of the IAEA (1953–1957) was shaped by the overlapping dynamics of superpower relations, decolonisation, and the growing influence of the ‘global South’ in the United Nations. During the four years of multilateral and international negotiations, many of the developing countries argued that the new organisation should not exacerbate global inequalities, practice discrimination, or institutionalise ‘atomic colonialism’. While American-Soviet understanding during these negotiations was at times strikingly good, the uranium-producing states and the future recipients of IAEA technical assistance often faced each other as rival blocs. The article is based on multi-archival research at the IAEA and the UN, as well as at the National Archives of the United States, the United Kingdom, and South Africa.

Elisabeth Roehrlich, The Cold War, the developing world, and the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), 1953–1957, Cold War History Vol. 16 , Iss. 2, 2016.

Read the full article here.

The Global History of the IAEA


In cooperation with CISAC at Stanford University, the IAEA History Research Project organized a conference on the global history of the IAEA.


Download the conference program here.

Erasmus Intensive Program


As a major initiative to increase international cooperation, the IAEA History Research Project initiated an Erasmus Intensive Program (IP) on Europe’s nuclear history. The program was fully funded by the European Union's Lifelong Learning Program, and strengthens cooperation of both established professors and early career academics from five European countries.
The EU Erasmus Intensive Program on Europe’s Nuclear History (second year) was organized by the University of Vienna’s Department of Contemporary History in cooperation with Sorbonne III (France), University of Augsburg (Germany), ELTE Budapest (Hungary), University Roma Tre (Italy), and LUISS (Italy).  A first edition took place in Vienna in spring 2013.

Round Table: 60 Years of Atoms for Peace


A high-level round table, organized by the IAEA History Research Project in cooperation with the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington D.C., met at the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue. to discuss 60 years of Atoms for Peace.

Joseph F. Pilat,
Program Manager, Los Alamos Laboratory; Global Fellow and Co-Director, Non-Proliferation Forum, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Odette Jankowitsch-Prevor, Lecturer on international nuclear law; former Head of Section IAEA Division for External Relation and Senior Legal Officer IAEA Office of Legal Affairs.

Elisabeth Roehrlich, IAEA History Research Project, Department of Contemporary History, University of Vienna.

Chair: Oliver Rathkolb, Department of Contemporary History, University of Vienna.

On the occassion of the anniversary, the IAEA Bulletin featured an article by Elisabeth Roehrlich: Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace: The Speech that Inspired the Creation of the IAEA.

Conference to Launch the IAEA History Research Project


An international conference in Vienna marked the launch of the IAEA History Research Project.

Read the interview with conference participant and NPIHP Senior Advisor David Holloway in DER STANDARD (September 2012, in German): Atomwaffenhistoriker: "Die Aussicht auf Atomwaffen wirkt destabilisierend".

David Holloway, Stephen Twigge, Christian Ostermann, John Krige, and Elisabeth Roehrlich at the conference.