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Boutwell: In Anticipation Of 75th Anniversary...

on November 26, 2019 - 8:52am
By JEFFREY BOUTWELL, Ph.D.
Los Alamos
 
I had the privilege to give a talk on Nov. 12 to the Los Alamos Historical Society focusing on the Polish physicist Josef Rotblat and his decision to leave Los Alamos and end his participation in the Manhattan Project in December of 1944 when it became clear that Nazi Germany was nowhere close to acquiring atomic weapons.
 
Often called the “Keeper of the Nuclear Conscience”, Rotblat was much criticized for “deserting” the atomic bomb project, yet he did so for fundamental reasons of personal conscience and fears that development of the “Gadget” would lead to a post-war nuclear arms race.
 
Seventy five years on, we remain dangerously mired in a world with 14,000 nuclear weapons and a growing number of nuclear weapons states.
 
In anticipation of next year’s 75th anniversary of the Trinity test and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, every effort should be made, including by the Los Alamos Historical Society and our national labs, to investigate and publicize new verification and confidence-building measures, including the use of Artificial Intelligence as written about recently by LANL Director Thom Mason, that can aid in the effort to greatly reduce and eliminate the reliance on nuclear weapons as instruments of policy and war.

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