The negotiations to create the International Centre for Theoretical Physics took place between 1960 and 1963 within the International Atomic Energy Agency. This study pays special attention to the active roles played by scientists, politicians, and intellectuals from the host-city, Trieste (Italy), and the historical circumstances that allowed this group of local actors to become key figures in the establishment of the Centre. The hostility of delegations from several industrialized countries, the Soviet Union, and India, and the constraints that the American hostility put upon the future of the Centre, are also considered. The paper lies at the intersection of the history of 20th-century physics, international relations of science, and development studies.

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