2018 Annual Dinner and Meeting Program

Annual Dinner Table Setting

Thursday, November 8, 2018


The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Annual Dinner and Meeting are opportunities for Bulletin stakeholders to engage with leading science and security experts on the most important issues facing the planet. Download a PDF of the program.

Join the Conversation

Scenes from the 2017 Annual Dinner and Meeting

2018 Annual Dinner Program

5:00pm Cocktail Reception

Doomsday Clock on display and take a virtual reality tour of the Doomsday Clock, presented by Ellen Sandor and her colleagues at (art)n

6:00pm Welcoming Remarks

Yangyang Cheng, 2017 Rieser Award Recipient, introduced by Tim Rieser, foreign policy aide to US Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont

Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor, State of California, introduced by John Balkcom, Vice-Chair, Governing Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Dinner and Dessert

Keynote Conversation

William J. Perry, 19th US Secretary of Defense and Joseph Y. Yun, Senior Advisor, The Asia Group, in conversation with Rachel Bronson, President and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Introduction and Acceptance of Honors

Lee Francis, President and CEO of Erie Family Health Center, introduced by Bill RevelleVice-Chair, Governing Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

9:00pm Conclusion

2018 Annual Meeting Program

12:00pm: Registration and Buffet Lunch

Doomsday Clock on display and take a virtual reality tour of the Doomsday Clock, presented by Ellen Sandor and her colleagues at (art)n

12:30-1:15: Welcome and Introduction

Rachel Bronson, President and CEO, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Robert Rosner, Science and Security Board Chair, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

21st Century Bulletin

   John Mecklin, Editor-in-Chief, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

1:35pm-2:30pm: Session 1 (Choose one)

Steve Fetter

Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution

  We are in the early stages of a fourth industrial revolution, a revolution defined by rapid advances in technology that are blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. Driven by commercial firms for commercial purposes that are not susceptible to government regulation, these new technologies will surely have a major impact on US and international security. Join the conversation about if and how we can safely navigate this fast unfolding change.

Bonnie Jenkins

"Happy" Birthday,


 The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty turned 50 this year, and the muted celebration around this half century achievement reflected a somber reality.  Global arms control is under siege at the exact moment when we need it the most.  The United States has pulled out of the Iran Deal, nuclear negotiations with North Korea are faltering, there appears to be little appetite to extend the 2010 New Start agreement and Russia appears in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The Ban Treaty, whose advocates were awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize is a direct response to decreasing global confidence in the NPT.  The good news, is that there are things we can do to reverse this course.  The challenge is to build public support for new arrangements to prevent a new nuclear arms race, and  ensure that new technologies don't threaten our future security. Join the conversation on what we can do, and what's at stake now that the NPT is 50.


Ray Pierrehumbert

Carbon budgets: How much can we emit without trashing the climate?

 Scientists are increasingly focused on a single number, the net carbon budget, to help cut through the complexity of global warming and convey the essentially permanent human impact on climate. Unfortunately, we are more than halfway through our carbon budget and quickly running out of time if our goal is to keep global warming at or below 2 degrees celsius. Join the conversation to learn more about how the budget works, the way short-lived climate pollutants like methane affect the budget, and how the budget helps us better understand the extreme danger posed by proposals to cool the Earth by “geoengineering” the amount of sunlight reflected back to space.


2:50pm-3:45pm: Session 2 (Choose one)

Chris Demchak

Cyber insecurity and its implications for the future global order

  The cyber realm burst onto the scene as a new wild west with few rules or responsibilities. Because this relatively new frontier increasingly underpins the world’s critical socio-economic systems, the consequence of the existing anarchy is significant. What we are now seeing is that states are increasingly taking the lead in defining new cyber borders and transitioning to a cybered interstate system. But this transition period is posing and will pose real challenges to citizens, private sector firms, and states as each seeks to protect themselves from threats ranging from simple malware to sophisticated cyber campaigns intended to undermine governments. Join the conversation on the emerging “Cyber Westphalia” and what it means for our collective futures.

Daniel Holz

The day I woke up to a phone call from two black holes colliding

  On the morning of September 14, 2015, a signal swept through the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). A Century after Einstein's prediction, we had finally directly detected gravitational waves. These waves were caused by the collision of two black holes, each roughly 30 times the mass of the Sun, in a galaxy over a billion light-years away. Join one of the scientists involved in this cutting-edge physics experiment to discuss the implications of this incredible September event as well as other recent exciting gravitational-wave discoveries.

Ramamurti Rajaraman

Nuclear risks: a perspective from South Asia

  Join one of India's leading nuclear experts in a conversation about the status of South Asia’s nuclear arsenals and the political dynamics that could lead to conflict.  The conversation will also touch on the role of China, and how the crumbling global nuclear architecture is affecting local decisions.

4:05pm-5:00pm: Session 3 (Choose one)

Suzet McKinney

Public health emergency preparedness: approaches for the real world

  What are the critical competencies that a city needs to prepare and respond to Public Health emergencies? What ethical questions can we address now, to ensure an effective response to tomorrow’s crisis? Join the conversation about what we should expect in future health crises and what we can do now to be better prepared.


Richard Somerville

What must happen to limit climate change?

  The climate change challenge is urgent. Physics and chemistry tell us that limiting climate change to moderate levels requires that global emissions of heat-trapping gases and particles must peak and decline quickly, within only a few years. The good news is that the technology needed to respond is available, improving rapidly, and becoming cheaper. But it will require collective action, political will, and wise political leadership to implement it. Join the conversation about what we can do now to ensure a sustainable future.

Jon Wolfsthal

Back to the future: the new nuclear landscape

 The United States and Russia are now fully engaged in a nuclear arms race, and the risk of nuclear escalation with Russia, and possibly with other states, is real and going unaddressed. Join the conversation about the most concerning aspects of this new reality and the concrete steps that can be taken to avoid nuclear risks and enhance stability.

5:00pm Cocktail Reception

The Details

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