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Barriers to BioweaponsThe Challenges of Expertise and Organization for Weapons Development$
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Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452888

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452888.001.0001

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date: 03 June 2020

The Acquisition and Use of Specialized Knowledge

The Acquisition and Use of Specialized Knowledge

(p.17) Chapter 2 The Acquisition and Use of Specialized Knowledge
Barriers to Bioweapons

Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley

Cornell University Press

This chapter narrates a meeting in Geneva in December 2011, where former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton warned of a potential bioterrorism threat. She said that “a crude, but effective, terrorist weapon can be made by using a small sample of any number of widely available pathogens, inexpensive equipment, and college level chemistry and biology.” Her statement reiterates a common belief: scientific knowledge is cumulative, is easy to acquire and use, and does not depreciate over time. However, academic and practical evidence suggests that such knowledge is difficult to acquire, use, or transfer because much of it is tacit, local, and collective in nature. Thus, the chapter explores how different types of knowledge are acquired and transferred.

Keywords:   Hillary Clinton, bioterrorism threat, scientific knowledge, bioterrorism, pathogens

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