About Nuclear Weapons Education Project

Physics Dept., Lab for Nuclear Science, MIT

Nuclear weapons pose an enormous threat to the future of humanity. It is important that individuals, particularly those who grew up after the end of the Cold War, learn about what nuclear weapons are and their effects on the health and environment. The MIT Nuclear Weapons Education Project aims to support this goal by providing materials for lectures or discussions at graduate and undergraduate course levels.

Nuclear Weapons dangers are increasing

Nuclear Weapons Education Initiative


Participate in education, public discourse

  • Give lectures in undergraduate and graduate courses
  • Could be part of a modern physics, science, history, politics, course
  • Give a focused course on nuclear weapons (preferably interdisciplinary)
  • Objective, factual, discussion of the issues
  • This is not a call to politicize the classroom, it is to educate younger generation about the destructive effects of nuclear weapons
  • It is a call for creativity and moral responsibility
  • It is an informal network of interested faculty members/students
  • Students can request courses/information from the faculty

Let’s consider some questions and topics that are discussed here:

  • What are nuclear weapons and what damage do they cause?
  • What were the consequences of using nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Did they end WW2 and save lives, or were they the beginnings of the Cold War?
  • Eisenhower thought that the possession of nuclear weapons was the least expensive way to offset the large numerical advantage of troops and tanks that the Soviet Union had in order to keep the peace. At the present time, the US has a $1 trillion 30-year modernization plan for its nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Is this affordable and does it really keep us safe, or does it stimulate other nations to emulate it?
  • Did the large numbers of nuclear weapons developed during the cold war save us from WW3 by deterrence, or did they pose an unnecessary danger of future use?
  • What are the current arsenals of nuclear weapons?
  • What agreements have been reached to limit the nuclear arms race?
  • What is the current strength of the US and Russian nuclear arsenals? Do they simply maintain deterrence and keep us safe, or do they maintain overkill capacity? Is there need and the political will for reductions?
  • Is the Iran nuclear agreement good or bad?
  • Is it possible to deal constructively with North Korea? How?
  • Is the spread of nuclear weapons unstoppable? What is the role of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)?
  • Is nuclear war inevitable?