Science Migrations: Mesoscale Weather Prediction from Belgrade to Washington, 1970-2000

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    This paper presents the history of Belgrade numerical weather prediction models as 'assemblages' shaped by the cognitive, social and material circumstances of Tito's Yugoslavia. It looks at how local researchers customized their model to suit the Balkan weather, IBM computers and socialist science policy, and how they managed to 'export' the product internationally. Accommodating the lack of computing power and mountainous topography, the model at first attracted the users with similar concerns. When it was later tested at the US National Meteorological Center, it showed a skill and potential for rapid improvement that led to its implementation in the USA and other national weather services. The success of the Eta model illustrates the ways in which a regional research travels into an 'alien' institutional and cognitive territory and how it bears upon the issues of the production and circulation of technoscientific knowledge. It is argued that the difference between the perceptions of international 'frontier' technoscience and the local 'backwater' adaptation is that the former implies a representational notion in which what matters is a black-boxed 'fund' of knowledge, while the latter implies an agenda in which what matters is exactly that - what matters locally.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)45-75
    Number of pages30
    JournalSocial Studies of Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004


    • Geography of science
    • Modelling
    • Transfer of knowledge
    • Weather prediction
    • Yugoslavia


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