Nuclear Weapons: Sources of Strength or Vulnerability?

Aron M. Bernstein

Physics Dept., Lab for Nuclear Science, MIT

An objective overview of the nuclear arms race will be presented with an emphasis on the present situation. A brief sketch of how nuclear weapons work and some ironic lessons from history will be presented. Scientists' discussions about preventing proliferation and use started in the secrecy of the Manhattan Project and continued in public during the rapid cold war buildup to the present (e.g., Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists). The central role of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the Iran agreement, possible pathways to nuclear conflict, and a personal view of the outlook to prevent future nuclear weapons use, including the vital role of education.


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