Alex Wellerstein

Building: Morton
Room: 337

B.A. (High Honors), History, University of California, Berkeley, 2002
Ph.D., History of Science, Harvard University, 2010


I am a historian of science who specializes in the history of nuclear weapons. I have also published on the history of eugenics. At times, I have also been a web developer, database programmer, and graphics designer, and I have sought to integrate these digital practices into my research work and in the interest of broadening public understanding of both history and science. 

I am currently under contract to the University of Chicago Press to complete a book on the history of nuclear secrecy in the United States from the Manhattan Project to the present.

I have published numerous articles for both academic and general audiences. I maintain a list of my publications here. Most of my publications have been on the history of nuclear weapons, though I have also published one article in the history of eugenics. I occasionally write articles for The New Yorker's Elements blog. My work has been cited in the New York Times, The Atlantic, the History Channel, Fox News, and even The Daily Show, among other venues.

I am also the author of Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog, which I update regularly. I am also the creator of the NUKEMAP, a popular nuclear weapons effects simulator. 

General Information

From 2011-2014, I was an Associate Historian (a postdoctoral position) at the Center for the History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics. For the year prior to that, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Managing the Atom Project (MTA) and the International Security Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a Lecturer in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. I maintain an affiliation with the MTA program as a Research Associate. I have also had a long association with the Program on Science, Technology, and Society (STS) at the Harvard Kennedy School, and have been their design coordinator for many years.

I have taught at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Georgetown University. As a graduate student I was the Edward Teller Graduate Fellow in Science and Security Studies for the Office of History and Heritage Resources at the U.S. Department of Energy. 

Professional Societies

History of Science Society

Society for History of Technology

  • HHS 130 History of Science and Technology
  • HST 120 Intro to Science & Tech Studies
  • HST 415 The Nuclear Era
  • HST 370 Biology, Eugenics, and Society
  • HST 325 Visualizing Society