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Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Celebrates 70th Anniversary with Special Issue: Scientists in the Public Interest

January 8, 2015

Bulletin Media Contact: Janice Sinclaire,

CHICAGO  –  The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists kicks off its 70th anniversary year with a special issue that honors “Scientists in the Public Interest,” a fitting theme for an organization founded by Manhattan Project scientists dedicated to warning the world about the dangers of the Bomb. As editor-in-chief John Mecklin writes in his introduction to this anniversary issue: “In May 1946, Einstein warned that ‘a new type of thinking’ was necessary if mankind was to survive the advent of nuclear weaponry. Many of the early atomic scientists put their careers on the line in ensuing decades—and fared particularly poorly in the McCarthy red-baiting era—in hopes of making that change in thinking a worldwide reality ”

The Bulletin’s achievements, as Mecklin points out, are by no means relegated to its past.
As technology has progressed, the Bulletin’s mission has evolved to include dangers only recently recognized as potentially disastrous for civilization. The current Board of Sponsors boasts 17 Nobel laureates, as well as Stephen Hawking and Freeman Dyson. The current Science and Security Board is made up of leading voices in science and public policy who regularly provide Bulletin readers with the most current analyses in the areas of nuclear proliferation, climate change, energy, and “emerging technologies.”

The 70th anniversary issue forcefully represents the Bulletin’s mission by shining a light on the role of the scientist in helping the rest of us find ways to understand and solve threats to our collective future, threats that we ourselves have set in motion. “This 70th anniversary issue highlights political freedom of science, as well as the idea that scientific knowledge must be put to responsible ends by policy makers and politicians,” said executive director Kennette Benedict. As Science and Security Board member Lawrence M. Krauss writes in the issue, “Science plays a special role in the development of human civilization, and the scientific process provides tools and examples that can have particular utility in the public arena.”

Scientists in the Public Interest: A celebration of seven decades of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Free access

Introduction: The Bulletin at the young age of 70, by John Mecklin

Scientists as celebrities: Bad for science or good for society? by Lawrence M. Krauss

The Serengeti strategy: How special interests try to intimidate scientists, and how best to fight back, by Michael E. Mann

Ending the assassination and oppression of Iranian nuclear scientists, by Siegfried S. Hecker and Abbas Milani

What should climate scientists advocate for? by Gavin A. Schmidt

The ozone story: A model for addressing climate change? by William H. Brune

Interview with Frank von Hippel, scientist in the public interest, by Kennette Benedict

Science and policy: Crossing the boundary, by Dale Jamieson, Naomi Oreskes, and Michael Oppenheimer

Out of the nuclear shadow: Scientists and the struggle against the bomb, by Zia Mian

American scientists as public citizens: 70 years of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, by David Kaiser and Benjamin Wilson

Counting nuclear warheads in the public interest, by Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen

Global Forum:
Is “Zero” the right target for disarmament?
An Arab response, by Wael Al Assad

A Turkish response, by Sinan Ulgen

A Chinese response, by Li Bin

About the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:
Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists subsequently created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero), to convey threats to humanity and the planet. The decision to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made by the Bulletin's Science and Security Board in consultation with the Governing Board and the Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world's vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences.

Bulletin Media Contact: Janice Sinclaire,

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