Article ID: CBB073054408

Taking a Stand: Exploring the Role of the Scientists prior to the First Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, 1957 (2013)


In 1957, a small group of world-renown scientists gathered in Pugwash, Nova Scotia to discuss the growing threat of nuclear arms. Funded by industrialist Cyrus Eaton and spearheaded by philosopher Bertrand Russell and physicist Joseph Rotblat, this 1957 meeting founded an organization of scientists that believed they had a duty to speak out against escalating nuclear testing and what they saw as the irresponsible use of science. However, not every scientist felt that it was appropriate to take a public and political stand. This paper gives a brief history of the Pugwash movement and how its first meeting came to be held in Pugwash, Nova Scotia. The perspectives of involved scientists are examined, contrasting the attitudes of participants in the conference with the attitudes of scientists who declined a public role. This paper explores how scientists perceived their own responsibility to act, examining the willingness to use their cultural identity as scientists to lobby for a particular political position.

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Authors & Contributors
Kosek, Jake
Norwood, Vera
Correia, David
Masco, Joseph
Grattan-Guinness, Ivor
Parr, Joy
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Comparative Studies in Society and History
Canadian Historical Review
Scientia Canadensis: Journal of the History of Canadian Science, Technology, and Medicine
Social History of Medicine
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Oxford University Press
Princeton University Press
The MIT Press
University of New Mexico
University of California Press
University of Chicago
Nuclear industry
Nuclear weapons; atomic weapons
Political activists and activism
Protest movements
Nuclear power stations
Science and politics
Russell, Bertrand Arthur William
Rotblat, Joseph
Francis, John
Sears, Paul Bigelow
Commoner, Barry
United States
New Mexico (U.S.)
Great Britain
Warsaw (Poland)
Soviet Union
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (1968)
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; Partial Test Ban Treaty; Limited Test Ban Treaty (1963)
United States. Atomic Energy Commission

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