Words from the President

Science for Peace as a Reality

Science for Peace is a concept. What is its reality?

It is what it does. Science for Peace produces a Bulletin. There were Bulletins in May and June put out by John Dove, John Valleau, and Derek Paul in Toronto and in October, November, and February by the executive in Vancouver. Alan Weatherley has taken on the task of constructing an organization that will bring more people into the process of keeping the Bulletin going.

It is what it does. As national director of research, Paul LeBiond developed a network of local directors to foster useful peace-related research by Canadian scientists. One problem of a national organization that spans a continent is that of communication. Experiments in establishing an electronic network have so far been of limited success. LeBlond’s group identified areas of research including the dangers of nuclear war, peaceful uses of outer space, verification of nuclear explosions, seismology and the threshold levels for reliable detection, surveillance and sovereignty, probabilities and risks.

It is what it does. The International Conference on Arctic Cooperation was co-sponsored by Science for Peace and the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security (CIIPS). Delegates from ten nations included indigenous people with special knowledge of the region, physical scientists, technical experts, and social scientists. It was the right conference at the right time. It might have had more immediate impact if Science for Peace had obtained the endorsement of the manifesto on the Arctic which was prepared for but not considered by the conference. The conference was reported in the Bulletin, where it was hoped sufficient credit was given to Franklyn Griffiths who developed the programme, and to John Dove who was chief organizer. The conference was an achievement that would be enough to justify all the efforts that have gone into creating and sustaining Science for Peace. The Workshop on Chemical and Biological Warfare held in April (the work of Walter Dorn) took on added meaning following the revelations of the use of chemicals in the Iran-Iraq war. Conference participation and sponsorship have been a very important aspect of Science for Peace activities over the years.

It is what it does. Science for Peace is a publisher. The Arctic Conference will appear as a book. The Science for Peace Conference on European Security Requirements in 1985 led to the book “Defending Europe: Options for Security”. The ideas in the book are now coming to be accepted by NATO and Warsaw Pact nations as they move towards nonthreatening ways of defense. The weekly lecture series owes almost everything to the efforts of our Founding President Eric Fawcett over the last eight years. Eric coordinates the efforts of the now six different groups that combine to present a most stimulating set of lectures. “The Name of the Chamber was Peace” was a published selection of these lectures for 1986-87 when they were known as the Science for Peace Seminars. Derek Paul directs the publications committee. Its works were documented in the February Bulletin. Its latest publication — “Understanding War” by John McMurtry has been quite successful.

It is what is does. Science for Peace provides support for groups in various parts of the country. In New Brunswick the local chapter sponsors prizes for the New Brunswick Science Fair for any project which deals with the danger that weapons of mass destruction pose for humanity, and which promotes peace. In Ottawa, the local chapter sponsors a similar prize at the National Science Fair. This year local chapters are being organized in Hamilton and Edmonton.

It is what it does. Science for Peace provides support for individual efforts. Eric Fawcett runs Science for Peace International Network (SPIN). Arnold Simoni has a study group on “Comprehensive Integrated Disarmament Processes”. Derek Paul participates in Pugwash. Many members give lectures to public organizations. The President of Science for Peace addressed almost 500 people at the Vancouver Institute last October.

One of our organization’s most active (and younger) members, Walter Dorn, has regularly attended UN sessions since the Special Session on Disarmament in 1982 (UNSSOD II). He and Derek Paul prepared a brief for UNSSOD III which Derek presented at the UN in June, 1988: it discussed arms verification, bilateral and multilateral agreements, prohibiting development of new weapons, and open science. Walter chairs the working group on “International Surveillance and Verification”, with representatives from six peace groups which conducted the public forum on chemical and biological warfare in Toronto in April. Previously he had compiled “A Directory of Canadian Scientific Expertise: Peace and Security Aspects”, and two reports on Science for Peace workshops on satellite and airborne surveillance. This year he wrote a proposal for an Arctic monitoring agency, noted below. His book “Peace-Keeping Satellites: the Case for International Surveillance and Verification” (Peace Research Institute, Dundas, 1987, 182pp) creatively considers how satellite surveillance technology can directly enhance international peace and security. Walter’s work towards a Ph.D. in chemistry is supported by a fellowship from CIIPS. He is studying chemical sensors for detection of chemical and biological warfare agents.

I wish you all the best in your service to the cause of peace and my regards to all Science for Peace members who are striving to build a stronger and more lasting peace in which science can be dedicated to more noble and worthy causes, such as the advancement of our knowledge of the universe, the eradication of disease, and other real enemies of mankind.

It will be what it will do. The future of Science for Peace is the subject of today’s meeting. The comments and opinions of all are welcomed. Among other things, the organization should put its efforts towards encouraging young scientists, of whom Walter Dorn is a present fine example.

Tony Arrott
President, Science for Peace
May 6, 1989.

Whole issue on one page | as PDF

ISSN 1925-170X (Print) | ISSN 1925-1718 (Online)