Brainy Quote of the Day

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Working toward a world without nuclear weapons

"This article is based on the 2010 Max von Laue Lecture that I was invited to give in March at the German Physical Society meeting in Bonn, Germany. In physics, von Laue is greatly admired for discovering x-ray diffraction by crystals, work for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1914. Von Laue is also universally admired for acting with honor and speaking out with courage against Nazi policies of racial discrimination and in support of scientific integrity during the darkest and most dangerous days of the Hitler regime.
Von Laue and Albert Einstein, both born in 1879, were members of the generation of physicists whose revolutionary discoveries led civilization across a one-way bridge into today’s new era. It is the era in which, for the first time in history, we can literally destroy the civilization built over the past 3000 years. That is the danger we have created with thermonuclear weapons able to release explosive energy of unimaginable destructiveness."

This post strikes me a number of ways: I was a child of the previous conflict between the US and the former USSR.  Therefore, I have vivid memories of "diving under desk" drills in case of nuclear fallout.  I think even back then, I knew we were essentially TOAST.  Also as an undergrad at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, my senior thesis involved X-ray diffraction investigation of thin films.  To Einstein and Von Laue, I owe a debt to the era they founded and the warnings they gave it as it emerged.

More at: Limiting the number of warheads is a good beginning

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