Congratulations to the 2018 Rieser Award recipients!

By , December 17, 2018

The Bulletin announces its 2018 Leonard M. Rieser Award!

“We expected students in colleges and high schools near Manhattan Project sites to have some foundational knowledge of nuclear weapons, their history, and current issues. We were wrong.”

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has named Erin Connolly and Kate Hewitt its 2018 Leonard M. Rieser Award recipients for their June 11 essay “American students aren’t taught nuclear weapons policy in school. Here’s how to fix that problem.” The article was selected by the Bulletin’s editorial team from its “Voices of Tomorrow” column–a column that promotes rising experts who write with distinction on topics including nuclear risk, climate change, and disruptive technologies..

In their award-winning article, the authors detail their efforts to educate high school and college students about nuclear weapons by visiting classrooms in Washington State’s Tri-Cities area, delivering 22 presentations over the course of four days

“This article is sophisticated in its thinking, accessible in its writing, and aimed at solving a problem, rather than wallowing in it,” editor-in-chief John Mecklin said when selecting the article as the best of our many 2018 “Voices of Tomorrow” submissions. “It is precisely the type of work we hope Bulletin writers of all ages and experience levels aspire to produce.”

The Rieser Award is the capstone of the Bulletin‘s Next Generation Program, created to ensure that new voices, steeped in science and public policy, have a trusted platform from which to address existential challenges. It is named for physicist Leonard M. Rieser (1922-1998), board chair at the Bulletin from 1984 until his death in 1998.

“The great thing about Erin’s and Kate’s article is that it not only describes how they came to pursue the study of nuclear weapons, but also how, after realizing that countless others of their generation were unaware of this ‘existential threat’, they set about to educate their peers,”  Tim Rieser stated. Rieser, along with his brother Len, helped to establish the Rieser Award in his father’s honor. “My father, who was first exposed to nuclear weapons at their creation, was a life-long educator. He would have found reason to hope that Erin’s and Kate’s efforts will help overcome the ignorance and complacency that have allowed our government’s nuclear weapons policy to go largely unchallenged by the American people.”

Connolly is a program assistant at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Hewitt is a research assistant in security and strategy at the Brookings Institution. The Rieser Award includes a $1,000 cash prize and a one-year subscription to the Bulletin’s subscription online magazine. More about the award, Leonard M. Rieser, previous recipients, and all Voices of Tomorrow authors, can be found here.

To support to the Bulletin‘s Next Generation programs–visit our gift page and choose “Next Generation” from the drop-down menu.


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