Soviet Science from Sputnik to Chernobyl In 1957, the USSR launched the world’s first artificial satellite. Just four years later, Yuri Gagarin was the first human to orbit Earth. Yet by the 1980s, Soviet development had fostered environmental devastation, a crisis made manifest with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. In this course we will explore the Soviet state’s fascination with science as a means through which to build a utopian future. How did science and technology interact with state power? How was science implicated in Cold War tensions? How did Soviet “atomic culture” affect ordinary citizens?