reliance on scientists
’ expertise inevitable gives the latter
a degree of influence over policy. Thisinfluence is by no means decisive in every case. Nonetheless, scientists have in some cases had an importantinfl
uence over country’s nuclear policies.
The proliferation literature has often cited scientists and science bureaucracies as catalysts for the pursuit orforeswearing of nuclear weapons.
In his seminal history of India’s nuclear weapon program, George Per
kovich(1999) focuses on the pivot role of Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, a Western-educated nuclear scientist who created and
led India’s nuclear program from its inception in the
through his death in 1966 (see also Subletteundated). According to
Dr. Bhabha who pressured India’s more pacifi
st-leaning politicalleaders to authorize a nuclear weapons program.Scott Sagan (1996/1997) addresses the role of scientists in nuclear proliferation from a more theoretical standpoint.Specifically, Sagan outlines a domestic/bureaucratic model of nuclear proliferation that consists of nuclear scientistsfrom the national laboratories forming a pro-nuclear weapon coalition with members of the military leadership.Once formed, this pro-nuclear coalition signals out and engages sympathetic politicians, or pressures/manipulatesanti-nuclear leaders into changing their position.On the other hand, scientists also have a rich tradition as non-proliferation and arms control advocates. In fact,arguably the first nuclear arms control advocates were the very same physicists working on the Manhattan Project,which developed the first U.S. nuclear bombs during WWII. Physicist Niels Bohr, for instance, lobbied FranklinRoosevelt and Winston Churchville to include Joseph Stalin in the Manhattan Project in order to improve thechances that nuclear weapons would be put under international (UN) control after the war. Similarly, J. Robert
Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb,” was the author
of a U.S. government report that form the basis of theBaruch Plan, a 1946 US proposal to the UN calling for the most sensitive aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle to be putunder international control (Holloway 2012). Following the invention and testing of hydrogen bombs in 1952,leading scientists took on non-proliferation advocacy with even greater urgency. Particularly notable was the 1955Russell-Einstein Manifesto denouncing nuclear weapons that was signed by eleven leading scientists and publicintellectuals. This manifesto would lead to the first Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs being held in1957, which in 1995 was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize.The role of scientists as arms control advocates was by no means limited to the Western world. Of particularimportance on the Soviet side was Andrei Sakharov, a renowned physicist who led
the Soviet Union’s program to
develop a hydrogen bomb, before becoming an outspoken critic of the Soviet Union regime and the nuclear armsrace. Even after his
vocal dissent of the Soviet regime led to his imprisonment in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s,
Sakharov continued to speak out against nuclear weapons, including having friends and colleagues sneak out anopen letter to American physicist Sydney Drell on the dangers of Thermonuclear War, which appeared in
while Sakharov was still a prisoner (Sakharov 1983).
Sakharov and Drell’s transnational cooperation was hardly unique in their field. Scientific inquiry by its very nature
involves collaboration. As communication technology improved, this cooperation increasingly took place acrossnational borders with information being exchanged through publications in professional journals and organizinginternational conferences. The result is an accumulative process where a crucial discovery in one area of the world isquickly incorporated into the work of scientists worldwide, soon spurring new breakthroughs from those latterscientists.Nuclear science has always embodied this transnational ethos. Reed and Stillman (2009, 12) note that the topseventy nuclear discoveries and innovations in the five pivotal decades between 1897 and 1948 came from scientistsworking in nine different nations, spanning three separate continents. Even the Manhattan Project, despite beingaimed at producing a national nuclear weapon, was a multinational endeavor. Indeed, Reed and Stillman (2009, 13)survey the national origin of the leading scientists on the Los Alamos technical staff during the Manhattan Project,