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Yale University – Walking the World Back from the Nuclear Brink: What can Scientists do?

September 28, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT


Despite shrinking significantly at the end of the Cold War, the world nuclear weapon arsenals continue to represent a significant threat to humanity. About 14,000 nuclear weapons are still deployed or in reserve and other 700 intercontinental ballistic missiles are ready to be launched within minutes. Recent trends indicate the risks of nuclear war may be growing with the return of great power confrontation, the modernization of existing arsenals, the abandonment of arms control agreements, the development of new types of strategic weapons, the rapid militarization of emerging technologies, and the increasing entanglement of conventional and nuclear forces. This talk will present the current nuclear crisis, discuss possible approaches to walk back from the brink, and make suggestions on what physicists can do both as scientists and informed citizens to reduce the dangers of nuclear war.

About the Speaker

Dr. Sébastien Philippe is a Research Scholar with Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, part of the School of Public and International Affairs. His work at the nexus of technical and policy research focuses on developing new methods and technologies for managing and monitoring nuclear weapons, materials, and activities as well as modeling the effects of nuclear explosion on people and planet.

His work on the reconstruction of fallout from past nuclear weapon tests, including Trinity, has been covered in major media around the world. His book, Toxique (2021), on the legacy of French nuclear tests in the Pacific was a Finalist for the 2021 Albert Londres Prize (the French equivalent of the Pulitzer) and won a 2022 Sigma Award for best data journalism in the world, among other accolades.

Philippe holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton, was a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, and has served as a nuclear weapon system safety engineer in France’s Ministry of Armed Forces. In 2023, he was appointed as a member of the Scientific Advisory Group of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

This event can be attended by the public through this zoom link.


September 28, 2023
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
Event Category:


Sloane Physics Lab, Room 59 217 Prospect St, New Haven


Physicists Coalition for Nuclear Threat Reduction
Yale University: Department of Physics