Daniela Dandes

My Research

My PhD thesis aims to bring the figure and achievements of forgotten nuclear pioneer Stefania Maracineanu back into the spotlight as a case study for scientist marginalisation from the point of view of nuclear science canonisation.  

100 years have passed since Maracineanu published her most notorious piece of work: her PhD thesis of 1924, in which she introduced the possibility of artificial radioactivity. Yet, aside her pioneer claims and actions, this understudied Romanian scientist still lingers in the shadow of nuclear giants such as Marie Curie, her thesis supervisor and mentor, and Irène Curie, the Nobel-winning scientist for the discovery of artificial radioactivity. Maracineanu came from a country that did not belong to the great powers of the world, diplomatically, economically, or politically. Many academic indicators play in favour of minimising or discrediting her scientific hypotheses and observations regarding the applications of nuclear science, observations that belong to the early years of atomic discoveries (first half of the twentieth century). And yet, despite all these hindrances in consideration and research, much of her scientific work still nurtures controversy to this day.  

The main purpose of this academic venture is to expose, analyse, and categorise in a more wholistic manner Maracineanu’s scientific legacy, most notably focusing on her contributions regarding nuclear element observation (e.g., polonium), artificial radioactivity, solar radioactivity, weather manipulation through nuclear intervention, and scientific teaching. Closely linked to the main topic is the positioning of her Romanianess within the field of nuclear science and its implications for scientific development and prestige. This exploration of Maracineanu and her work will be underlined by the narrative intersection of minor actors with what Doru Radosav calls “the great history” – in this case, a history marked by scientific breakthroughs in the nuclear sphere, touched by someone who did not make it in the historical canon of nuclear science, not even in her home country.

About me

Academically, I’m a first-year PhD student at CHSTM, having started this journey in 2022. My previous studies include a Master of Arts in Linguistics and Literature from the KU Leuven (Belgium), with a thesis on energy humanities – more specifically, discussing the polarised view on pre-1945 nuclear power through works of American science-fiction. I also hold a Bachelor of Arts in Dutch and Spanish Literature, Language, and Culture from the University of Bucharest (Romania). During my B.A. years, I’ve been awarded a CEEPUS scholarship at the University of Vienna (Austria).  

I am a collaborator of the Romanian Committee for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology and a member of Women in Nuclear UK. 

Personally, you’ll find that I am an expansive individual with many surprising quirks, always there to make things work better or be more beautiful.  

In my spare time, I produce a podcast called Wo/anderers about internationals in Romania, among other volunteering pursuits.

Research Interests

Truthful history, history of nuclear science, philosophy of science, politics, energy humanities, debating, arts and culture, ethnography, manipulation and propaganda, communication