This statement has been issued in response to Russia’s threats to use nuclear weapons and the subsequently increased risk of nuclear conflict and global catastrophe.

Note that signatories speak on their own behalf, and not for their affiliated institutions. You can add your name to the list here

The statement was signed by over 1,000 scientists and delivered to key governments and decision makers. Read the press release here

A Statement from Scientists on the Use and Threats of Use of Nuclear Weapons

January, 17, 2023

From the beginning of Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly issued threats to use nuclear weapons. As the war has continued, the risk of nuclear war has grown. Nuclear war would affect all people and this risk demands a global response.

We state unequivocally that any threat to use nuclear weapons, at any time and under any circumstances, is extremely dangerous and totally unacceptable. We call on all people and governments everywhere to clearly condemn all nuclear threats, explicit or implicit, and any use of such weapons.

In February, President Putin threatened that interference in the situation in Ukraine would be met with immediate “consequences that you have never faced in your history”. In September, he suggested he might order the use of nuclear weapons “if the territorial integrity of our country is threatened,” including the territory in Ukraine that Russia has illegally seized.

The use of a nuclear weapon for the first time in more than 77 years would risk global catastrophe. If Russia were to use any nuclear weapons in its war on Ukraine, the risk of nuclear escalation would be extremely serious. Once nuclear weapons are used in a conflict, particularly between nuclear-armed adversaries, there is a risk that it could lead to an all-out nuclear conflagration. If the United States or NATO were to launch a nuclear retaliatory strike against Russia in response to a Russian nuclear attack in Ukraine it would create significant risk of an escalatory cycle of nuclear destruction. As U.S. President Joseph Biden said in early October, “I don’t think there’s any such thing as an ability to easily use a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon.”

Today, it is widely understood that there can be no adequate humanitarian response following the use of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons kill and injure people immediately and indiscriminately, destroy cities, and contaminate the soil, water, and atmosphere with radioactivity. The smoke from burning cities in a nuclear war could darken and cool Earth’s surface for years, devastating global food production and ecosystems and causing worldwide starvation. For these reasons, 145 nations at the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference on August 22, 2022, endorsed the demand that  “nuclear weapons are never used again, under any circumstances.”

Despite this, all nine nuclear-armed states are investing in sustaining and modernizing their nuclear arsenals and have plans to use them to wage nuclear war if they choose. So long as countries possess these weapons of mass destruction, there is a risk they will be used. Threats to use nuclear weapons, especially in a time of war, make their use more likely.

With this statement, we add our voices to those already speaking out about the immense danger posed by nuclear weapons and call for immediate and concrete actions towards their elimination.

Scientists were the first to warn governments and publics what these terrible weapons can do. In 1946, the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists, chaired by Albert Einstein, warned the world about nuclear weapons, calling for their elimination and declaring that otherwise, “If war breaks out, atomic bombs will be used, and they will surely destroy our civilization.”

The Steering Committee of the Physicists Coalition for Nuclear Threat Reduction,

Laura Grego

Senior Scientist and Research Director, Global Security Program

Union of Concerned Scientists

 

Daryl G. Kimball

Executive Director, Arms Control Association

 

Frederick K. Lamb

Core Faculty Member, Program in Arms Control & Domestic and International Security

Professor of Physics and Professor of Astronomy Emeritus

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

 

Zia Mian

Senior Research Scholar and Co-Director, Program in Science and Global Security

Princeton University

 

Stewart Prager

Professor of Astrophysical Sciences, Emeritus and affiliated faculty member, Program on Science and Global Security

Princeton University

 

Frank von Hippel

Senior Research Physicist and Professor of Public and International Affairs, Emeritus

Co-Founder, Program on Science and Global Security

Princeton University

Steve Adler

Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Natural Sciences, Princeton

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Michael Aizenman

Professor of Physics and Mathematics, Princeton University

Member, National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Academia Europaea

 

Steven Balbus, F.R.S.

Savilian Professor of Astronomy, University of Oxford

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Barry Barish

Linde Professor of Physics, Emeritus, California Institute of Technology    

2017 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Sir Michael Berry, F.R.S.   

Melville Wills Professor of Physics, Emeritus, University of Bristol  

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Roger Blandford

Luke Blossom Professor In The School Of Humanities And Sciences

Professor Of Physics And Of Particle Physics And Astrophysics, Stanford University  

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Mike Botchan   

Dean of the Biological Sciences Division, College of Letters and Science

Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology

University of California, Berkeley

Member, National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

 

Edouard Brezin

Professor Emeritus, ENS Paris

Former President, French Academy of Sciences

Foreign member American Academy of Arts and Sciences

National Academy of Science, Royal Society

 

Alessandra Buonanno

Research Professor, University of Maryland   

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Claude Canizares

Bruno B. Rossi Distinguished Professor in Experimental Physics

Massachusetts Institute of Technology   

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Carlton M. Caves     

Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of New Mexico   

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

David Ceperley

Professor of Physics, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Paul Michael Chaikin

Julius Silver, Roslyn S. Silver, and Enid Silver Winslow Professorship, Professor of Physics, New York University 

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Demetrios Christodoulou  

Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and Physics, ETH -Zurich  

Member, National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Academia Europaea

Shaw Prize Laureate

 

George W. Clark

Breene M. Kerr Professor of Physics, Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Member, National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

 

Morrel Cohen  

Distinguished Scientist, Rutgers University    

Member, National Academy of Sciences 

 

Stanley Deser    

Ancell Professor of Physics, Emeritus, Brandeis University       

Member, National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Foreign Member, Royal Society of the United Kingdom

 

Walter Englander

Gershon Cohen Professor, Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Alexei V. Filippenko

Distinguished Professor of Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley  

Member, US National Academy of Sciences

 

Eduardo Fradkin

Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Physics

Director, Institute for Condensed Matter Theory

Department of Physics, University of Illinois  

 

Daan Frenkel   

Member, National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Professor of Chemistry, University of Cambridge    

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Jerome I Friedman  

Institute Professor and Professor of Physics, emeritus

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

1990 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Nigel Goldenfeld

Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Physics, UCSD   

Member, National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

 

Carol Gross

Professor, University of California, San Francisco   

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

David Gross

Chancellor’s Chair Professor of Theoretical Physics, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics

2004 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Philip Hanawalt

Professor of Biology, Emeritus, Stanford University

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Wick Haxton    

Distinguished Professor of Physics, University of California, Berkeley       

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Roald Hoffmann

Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor, Emeritus, Cornell University

Member, National Academy of Sciences

1981 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry

 

Rush D. Holt

Former Member of Congress and CEO Emeritus, American Association for the Advancement of Science        

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

John J Hopfield

Howard A Prior Professor of Molecular Biology, Emeritus, Princeton University

President, American Physical Society (2006)

Benjamin Franklin Medalist in Physics, Franklin Institute (2019)

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

David Huse      

Professor of Physics, Princeton University      

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Victor Kac        

Professor of Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology      

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Roger Kornberg

Professor of Medicine, Stanford University    

2006 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Sarah Kurtz                        

Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study

School of Natural Sciences, Princeton   

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

James Langer

Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara      

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Chung K. Law

Robert H. Goddard Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Princeton University

Member, National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

 

Tony Leggett

Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign     

Member, National Academy of Sciences

2003 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics

 

Elliott Lieb                 

Professor of Mathematics and Higgins Professor of Physics, Emeritus

Princeton University

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Allan Macdonald                         

Professor, University of Texas at Austin

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Juan Maldacena                           

Carl P. Feinberg Professor

School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University   

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Christopher McKee

Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of California, Berkeley      

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Arno Penzias                                

Member, National Academy of Sciences

1978 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics

 

John Polanyi

Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

1986 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry     

 

Hugh D. (David) Politzer  

Richard Chace Tolman Professor of Theoretical Physics

California Institute of Technology

Member, National Academy of Sciences

2004 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics

 

Helen Quinn                        

Professor Of Particle Physics And Astrophysics, Emerita, Stanford University     

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Sir Richard J. Roberts, Ph.D. F.R.S.   

Chief Scientific Officer, New England Biolabs        

1993 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine

 

Lucia B. Rothman-Denes                    

Carlson Professor, Haig P. Papazian Distinguished Service

Professor of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago  

Member, National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

 

John H. Schwarz

Harold Brown Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus, California Institute of Technology

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Eric Selker                           

Professor of Biology, University of Oregon    

Member, National Academy of Sciences     

 

John Selker                         

President, American Geophysical Union Hydrology Section    

 

Irwin Shapiro                     

Timken University Professor

The Center for Astrophysics, Harvard University     

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Suzanne Staggs                   

Henry DeWolf Smyth Professor of Physics, Princeton University       

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Franklin Stahl                     

Professor Emeritus of Biology, University of Oregon       

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Howard A. Stone                          

Donald R. Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University      

Member, National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Foreign member, Royal Society of the United Kingdom

 

Sylvester Gates                   

Clark Leadership Chair in Science

Department of Physics & School of Public Policy, University of Maryland 

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Joseph H Taylor, Jr                     

James S McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Physics, Emeritus

Princeton University   

1993 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Kip S. Thorne

Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus

California Institute of Technology

2017 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics

Member, US National Academy of Sciences

Foreign Member, Russian Academy of Sciences

 

Scott Tremaine                   

Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton   

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Anthony Tyson

Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy

University of California, Davis

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Peter H. von Hippel                    

Professor, University of Oregon    

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Klaus von Klitzing                       

Director Emeritus, Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research       

1985 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

David Wineland                  

Philip H. Knight Distinguished Research Chair

Research Professor, Department of Physics, University of Oregon     

2012 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics

Member, National Academy of Sciences

 

Carl Wunsch   

Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physical Oceanography

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Member, National Academy of Sciences