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Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility – Oppenheimer and the Legacy of the Manhattan Project: Current Challenges in Nuclear Arms Control

March 27


80 years ago, Robert Oppenheimer led an industrial scale effort with more than 130,000 employees to create the nuclear fission weapons used to end World War II. With the United States and its allies facing totalitarian aggressors in the European and Pacific theaters, many elite scientists, engineers, and technicians supported the Manhattan Project through their scientific and technological innovations. Today, nine countries possess nuclear weapons. Nuclear non-proliferation diplomacy is increasingly difficult. Important arms control treaties have been terminated: The Intermediate Nuclear Force Treaty, the Iran Nuclear Deal and the Open Skies Treaty. Most recently, Russia has paused its participation in the inspection regime of the New START treaty. The colloquium will review consequences of nuclear war and nuclear terrorism and explain the system of arms control treaties that have been put into place to contain this threat. We will then review the challenges different arms control agreements have been facing.

About the Speaker

Dr. Matthias Grosse Perdekamp is a nuclear physicist at the University of Illinois. He serves as head of the Department of Physics and as director of the UIUC Program for Arms Control and Domestic and International Security, ACDIS. He explores the Physics of nuclear forces and the structure of the fundamental building blocks of nuclear matter through accelerator-based experiments at European Laboratory for Nuclear and Particle Physics, CERN, in Geneva Switzerland. His laboratory is developing advanced instrumentation for the detection of ionizing radiation. He teaches a longstanding course on Nuclear War and Arms Control as part of the ACDIS security certificate for undergraduate students at UIUC.


March 27
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