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Sonja Schmid

Sonja Schmid, PhD


Not in residence

(540) 231-8407 (voice)
(540) 231-7013 (fax)

Research Interests

reactor design choices and political legitimacy in the Soviet Union and Russia


Sonja Schmid is an assistant professor at Virginia Tech (2008-). In 2007-08, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in the Monterey Institute for International Studies and a CISAC affiliate. Formerly she was a social science research associate at Stanford University, a science fellow at CISAC, and a lecturer in the Program in Science, Technology and Society at Stanford.

Her research has focused on understanding complex decision-making processes at the interface between science, technology, and the state in the Cold War Soviet context, and is based on extensive archival research and narrative interviews with nuclear energy specialists in Russia. She is currently working on a book about reactor design choices and the development of the civilian nuclear industry in the Soviet Union. In addition, she is involved in an international research project on Cold War Technopolitics and Colonialism, where she works on Soviet technology transfer to Central and Eastern Europe. Her research interests also include risk communication, and the popularization of science and technology, subjects on which she has published in the past. She received her PhD in science and technology studies from Cornell University,