Former LANL Scientist Discusses Cold War Perspective

John C. Hopkins speaks in LANL’s 70th Anniversary Lecture Series Nov. 13. Courtesy/LANL

Hopkins Discusses his Perspective on the Cold War

  • Next-to-last presentation in yearlong 70th Anniversary Series at Bradbury Science Museum

John C. Hopkins, former associate director for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s nuclear weapons program, will give his perspective on the Laboratory during the Cold War years in the next 70th anniversary lecture at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Bradbury Science Museum.

“I believe that the teams at Los Alamos, Livermore and Sandia and the entire nuclear weapons complex, deserve a resounding ‘well done’ for their contributions to world peace,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins will discuss the role of and rationale for nuclear weapons from the Manhattan Project in the 1940s to the last nuclear test in Nevada in 1992. The talk will include nuclear weapons strategy and policy, the “golden age of weapons design” and major nuclear weapons technological breakthroughs. Hopkins also will talk about the future of nuclear weapons development and stockpile stewardship, and how these tasks can be completed without nuclear testing.

The national laboratories played a crucial role, Hopkins said, in keeping peace during the Cold War, and contributed significantly to the fact there has not been a major war in 68 years.

“The Laboratory’s Cold War years are underrepresented in the museum,” said Bradbury Science Museum Director Linda Deck. “Being able to present Hopkins’ first-hand knowledge can start to tell this story.”

About the speaker

Hopkins began his career as a student at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He received both his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Washington and returned to the Laboratory in 1960. He participated in the atmospheric nuclear tests in the Pacific and later at the Nevada Test Site. In 1974, Hopkins was appointed as the Nuclear Test Division leader and he was later appointed as the Laboratory’s associate director for the Nuclear Weapons Program. Throughout his career he was involved in nuclear policy and nuclear history and has authored books and papers in these fields. He served as an advisor to the Department of Energy, and the State and Defense departments; he has worked with the nuclear weapons programs of Britain, France, China and Russia.

About the 70th anniversary lecture series

Los Alamos National Laboratory celebrates 70 years of service to the nation in 2013. This free lecture series is part of a number of activities hosted by the Laboratory this year to mark the anniversary.

Mensa, an internationally recognized high-IQ society, named the Bradbury Science museum as one of the top 10 “Favorite Science Museums.”

All events at the Bradbury Science Museum are free and open to the public. Bradbury Science Museum is located at 1350 Central Ave., in downtown Los Alamos. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m., Sunday and Monday.