Month: October 2008

Acting to educate life scientists

Acting to educate life scientists

Anyone familiar with the history of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) will know that for years participants in BWC meetings have spoken about the importance of education in preventing the malevolent dual-use of biological technologies. Yet for all the bluster, the practical results regarding, for example, scientists’ understanding of the convention and their obligations under it, have been limited.

Kennette Benedict to interview author Richard Rhodes

Kennette Benedict to interview author Richard Rhodes

Bulletin Publisher and Executive Director Kennette Benedict will interview Pulitzer-Prize winning author Richard Rhodes during the annual Chicago Humanities Festival. The interview will begin at 12:30 p.m. on November 8, 2008, at the Chicago History Museum located at 1601 N. Clark Street. The discussion will focus on Rhodes’s latest book, Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race, which examines the U.S.-Russian standoff during the Cold War’s final years.

Improving the Select Agent Program

Improving the Select Agent Program

Immediately following the 2001 anthrax attacks, U.S. officials didn’t know how many U.S. research laboratories held stocks of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax disease. And they didn’t know how many researchers within those labs that did have stocks had ready access to the strains. This complicated the investigation of the source of the material used in the attacks. In the seven intervening years, U.S. officials have improved this situation.

The need for an Arab presence in international negotiations with Iran

The need for an Arab presence in international negotiations with Iran

Since 2002, the Iranian nuclear program has been a major threat to stability and security in the Middle East. To curb it, many countries and international bodies have engaged Tehran diplomatically. The European Union (EU) has shown unity and solidarity in dealing with Iran. Russia, the largest supplier of nuclear technology to Tehran, is also involved in the negotiations. Another active party is China, which has a strong economic relationship with Iran.

The rebirth of Russia’s closed cities

The rebirth of Russia’s closed cities

Almost upon developing the bomb, the Soviet Union enforced strict security measures within its nuclear weapons complex. In particular, it established so-called “closed cities”–one-employer settlements complete with travel restrictions and barb-wired perimeters that were tasked with designing, manufacturing, and servicing the most sensitive pieces of the Soviet nuclear weapons arsenal. For decades, the closed cities were the country’s crown jewels, and as such, they had substantially better living conditions, infrastructure, and lower crime rates than the rest of the country.

A silver lining to the U.S.-India nuclear deal

A silver lining to the U.S.-India nuclear deal

The civilian nuclear cooperation deal between the United States and India, which President George W. Bush signed into law last week, has been controversial from the moment it was first outlined in New Delhi about three years ago. It would allow Washington to trade nuclear technology with New Delhi despite the fact that India is a de facto nuclear weapons state outside of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The merits of a biochemical framework convention

The merits of a biochemical framework convention

The Bulletin has been hosting an engaging roundtable discussion on the “The Military Application of Neuroscience Research,” during which neuroscientist Christopher Green challenged the notion that “traditional arms control approaches could be relevant to this domain.” Referring to the recent National Academies study that he chaired, Military and Intelligence Methodology for Emergent Neurophysiological and Cognitive/Neural Science Research in the Next Two Decades, he wrote: “The