Faculty member in the Illinois Program in Arms Control, Disarmament, and International Security
Consultant to the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of State. US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and the U.S. Congress (intelligence and foreign relations)
Consultant to the Institute for Defense Analyses on arms control, ballistic missile flight, nuclear weapon tests, space weapons, U.S. space-launch capabilities, and space and aerospace vehicles, computerized battle simulations
Chief technical expert consultant for the Department of Defense program to verify restrictions on underground nuclear testing
Member, technical support committee for the U.S. delegation to the 1989–90 U.S.–Soviet negotiations on nuclear testing
Co-chair of 2001–2003 American Physical Society Study of Boost-Phase Ballistic Missile Defense
There will be an in-class writing assignment at the end of the next session (Session 2) Be sure to bring pen and paper
Required Essay 1, Version 1 (RE1v1) This essay must be handed in before leaving class
RE1v1 Writing Assignment
Choose one important problem related to nuclear weapons that the U.S. currently faces. It need not be the most important problem. It should involve a technological issue, a policy issue, or both. Write a 2-paragraph essay.
In-class Writing Assignment: Required Essay 1, Version 1 (RE1v1)
This assignment must be handed in before you leave class on Thursday
Choose one important problem related to nuclear weapons that the United States currently faces. It need not be the most important problem. It should involve a technological issue, a policy issue, or both. Write a 2-paragraph essay with the following structure:
In the first paragraph, state clearly the problem and why it is important.
In the second paragraph, give your recommendation for how the United States should deal with the problem.
Each paragraph should begin with a strong topical sentence that tells the reader what to expect in the paragraph.
If your essay has more than 2 paragraphs, you will receive a score of zero!
Do not make the paragraphs too long. This is a 1-page (typed) essay.
Use active voice!
You will be graded on the content and clarity of your writing, not the number of words.
Avoid unnecessary words, especially adjectives an adverbs.
A 2-paragraph essay has no room for telling the reader what you will do or for repetition—just say what you want to say, once!
Release of a biological agent would create fear and disrupt normal activities, but would not cause mass destruction.
In order to cause mass casualties, substantial amounts of agents such as anthrax, smallpox, and plague would have to be converted into tiny particles and then dispersed in an aerosol.
Because these agents are so deadly, the required forms and the equipment needed to disperse them are difficult to come by.
A complex long-term effort would be needed to develop and effectively deliver such an agent.
A pathogen such as anthrax that does not produce contagious disease could be used to attack a particular building or area.
A pathogen such as smallpox that produces a deadly contagious disease would be a “doomsday” weapon, because it could kill millions of people worldwide, including the group or nation that released it.
In countries with an effective public health service, prompt quarantine, vaccination, and other measures could reduce greatly the number of casualties, the area affected, and the time required to get the disease under control.
In less-developed countries, a contagious deadly disease could be devastating..
In contrast to a chemical or biological agent, a “small” (10 kiloton) nuclear weapon detonated in a major city would kill more than 100,000 people and reduce tens of square kilometers to rubble almost instantly.
Even a crude nuclear device that fizzled would destroy many square kilometers of a city and kill tens of thousands of people.
A large (1 megaton) nuclear weapon could kill millions of people and destroy hundreds of square kilometers within a few seconds.
Those who survived a nuclear explosion would have to deal with severe physical trauma, burns, and radiation sickness. Vital infrastructure would be destroyed or damaged, and radioactivity would linger for years near and downwind of the explosion.
Unlike the effects of a chemical or biological weapon, the devastating effects of a nuclear weapon on a city cannot be reduced significantly by actions taken before or after the attack.
War: Large-scale armed conflict between the military forces of two or more nation-states.
Preemptive War: War started to disrupt an attack that is imminent or already underway. According to international law, a war is preemptive only if (1) an attack is imminent and (2) there is no other way of preventing or stopping the attack.
Preventive War: War initiated in the absence of an urgent threat, with the intention of preventing a potential adversary from launching an attack at some time in the future.
The term “war on terror” is nonsensical, because an armed attack on an emotion (terror) is logically impossible. We will not use this term in Physics 280.
The term “war on terrorism” is also nonsensical, because an armed attack on a tactic (terrorism) is also logically impossible. We will not use this term in Physics 280.
A “war on terrorists” would be a large-scale, sustained attack on terrorists by the military forces of a nation-state; while logically possible, it is not usually the most effective way to defeat terrorists.