Sheffrin Lecture 2011: Peter Galison

Peter Galison, the Pellegrino University Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University, delivered the 2011 Sheffrin Lecture, "Secrecy: Espionage Act to Wikileaks."


Tracing the political history of secrecy from the Espionage Act to Wikileaks, Galison discussed the governing principles of what information had to be hidden. His analysis suggests what dangers did each period identify among things that should be secret, what were the properties and assumed power of these secrets, and what kind of thing could, in the end, properly be declared secret.

Galison was director, with Rob Moss, of Secrecy (2008) -- a film about government secrecy. An official selection at the Sundance Film Festival, the film won several awards and international exposure. Galison's previous film on the moral-political debates over the H-bomb, Ultimate Weapon, has been shown frequently on the History Channel. He was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1997 and the Max Planck and Humboldt Stiftung Prize in 1999. His books include How Experiments End (1987), Image and Logic (1997), Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps(2003), and most recently Objectivity (with L. Daston, 2007).

The Sheffrin Lectures in Public Policy are possible thanks to a gift from economics professor emeritus Steven M. Sheffrin, and his wife, Anjali. Co-sponsors are the Division of Social Sciences, the Department of Political Science, the Institute for Governmental Affairs, and the Herbert A. Young Society.