chapter  8
22 Pages

What Can the Scientist Do?

WithThomas F. Malone

Nuclear weapons have evolved from basic theoretical and experimental studies over many decades that culminated in the demonstration of nuclear fission in the 1930s, quickly followed by recognition that a chain reaction was possible. Hiroshima and Nagasaki marked a watershed in the role of armed conflict as an instrument of the foreign policy of nations. Both national and international elements of the scientific community are becoming increasingly vocal in expressing their concern and their resolve to fulfill a responsibility which is unique and profound. Quantitative examination of long-term, global effects of a nuclear exchange severely exacerbate the immediate catastrophic consequences. This new dimension has .the potential of illuminating the hazard to the human species and may well produce major changes in public attitudes concerning nuclear warfare. Deep moral and ethical issues now starkly confront the scientific community. Dialogue at the international level between the custodians of scientific knowledge and the custodians of ethics and morality is imperative.