In remembrance of Kosta Tsipis, 1934–2020

By Bulletin Staff | November 10, 2020

Kostas Tsipis. Credit: Vimeo

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists mourns the passing of a friend and longtime supporter, Kosta Tsipis, who died at his home on Saturday, November 7, at the age of 86.

A native of Greece, Tsipis emigrated to the United States in 1954 to study electrical engineering and physics at Rutgers University. After earning a doctorate at Columbia University, in 1966 he joined the physics department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A little more than 10 years later, he co-founded the Program in Science & Technology for International Security at MIT. In 1984, he received the American Physical Society’s annual Leo Szilard Lectureship Award, which honors outstanding accomplishments in promoting the use of physics for the benefit of society in such areas as the environment, arms control, and science policy.

Tsipis was committed to disarmament and was generous with his time, serving organizations such as the Council for a Livable World, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, and the Greek Institute for International and Strategic Studies. He was a member of the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors for nearly 25 years, from 1995 until his death.


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Rachel Bronson
Rachel Bronson

Kosta Tsipis’ legacy remains very strong at the Bulletin. When I joined the Bulletin I took a deep dive into our archives. There were several epic debates about the future of the Bulletin, how we should evolve through tectonic geopolitical changes, profound changes in media and changes in public engagement. Kosta was always asked to be part of those discussions because he was so deeply respected by his peers. As we begin our 75th anniversary year, I am grateful for the titans of science and politics who ensured that the Bulletin remains at the center of the debate over how… Read more »

Martin Hellman

I worked in the Beyond War Movement of the 1980’s, which used PSR’s “The Last Epidemic” as part of our educational program. I probably heard Tsipis ask “how much is a million tons of TNT” (or words to that effect) 50-100 times. Even now, his saying that with his Greek accent brings a smile to my face. How nice when someone can make you smile when talking about the need to avoid nuclear devastation. Of course, avoiding nuclear devastation requires building a world far better than the one we inherited, so maybe a smile is warranted. I am grateful for… Read more »

Judith Tsipis
Judith Tsipis

Thank you for your kind remarks. He was indeed a great lecturer so committed to the cause of world peace. Best, Judith Tsipis