Letters

Two SfP members are now recipients of MacArthur Foundation Fellowships in International Peace and Security. Tim Brac, board member of SfP, writes:

“I received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship to study the implications of existing and emerging technologies relevant to biological warfare and how this may affect international security. I am pursuing my research at the Center for Science and Int’l Affairs at Harvard University and collaborating on related projects.”

And from Barry O’Neill, of the faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences at Northwestern University:

“My program will be to write a book on the escalation of international conflict from the point of view of the theory of games. The book will have historical examples, deal with current issues concerning nuclear weapons and be written in a way that a specialist without an extensive background in mathematics can understand. The book will address new problems of escalation generated by developing technologies. For example, a number of new plans hope to use conventional weapons to strike at nuclear weapons or their supporting systems, and it is not clear whether such a move would be regarded by the government under attack as a crossing of the conventional / nuclear threshold. I will also deal with escalation and a first – strike advantage, escalatory moves as signals, choices to escalate made in organizations that have no single centre of decision making, shortcut decision heuristics as spurs to escalation and escalation as an attempt to manipulate risk.”

Happy Easter
Westport, Ont.

Dr. George Ignatieff:

Dear George,

I want to tell you how much I admire your essay “A Strategy for Survival” in Canada and Common Security: the Assertion of Sanity just published by the Group of 78. While no formal decision was taken at the last meeting of the steering committee, it was accepted as a statement of the position of G78.

— Leonard V. Johnson Major-General (Ret), Montreal, Que.

I strongly endorse the recommendations by David Parnas and Anatol Rapoport in the March issue that SfP should focus on education of the public. Scientists should become more adept at “public relations”,education in its broadest sense.

Let’s not ignore the public speaking platform. Frankly, many scientists induce drowsiness in lay audiences – George Ignatieff being a notable exception.

Members should reach out more to professionals in PR, advertising and the media to interest them in our concerns.

— Ross Smyth