2019 Annual Dinner & Meeting Speaker Bios
2019 Dinner Speakers
President and CEO, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Rachel Bronson is the president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, where she oversees the publishing programs, management of the Doomsday Clock, and a growing set of activities around nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, climate change, and disruptive technologies. Before joining the Bulletin, she served for eight years at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in a number of capacities including: vice president of studies, vice president of programs and studies, and senior fellow, global energy. She also taught “Global Energy” as an adjunct professor at the Kellogg School of Management.
Edmund G. Brown Jr.
Former Governor, State of California
Jerry Brown served for four terms as Governor of the State of California, the most recent term ending in January, 2019. He began his career in public service in 1969 as a trustee for the LA Community College District. He became California Secretary of State in 1970 and Governor of California in 1974 and 1978. After his second term as governor, Brown lectured and traveled widely, practiced law, served as chairman of the state Democratic Party, and ran for president. Brown was elected Mayor of Oakland in 1988 and California Attorney General in 2006; he was elected to a third gubernatorial term in 2010 and a fourth term in 2014. Since his return to the Governor's Office, Brown helped eliminate the state's multi-billion budget deficit, spearheading successful campaigns to provide new funding for California's schools and establish a robust Rainy Day Fund to prepare for the next economic downturn. His administration has established nation-leading targets to protect the environment and fight climate change. Brown attended the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a JD at Yale Law School. He is also executive chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Erin Connolly, 2018 Rieser Award Recipient
Former Research Analyst, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
Erin Connolly is a master’s candidate at the Keough School of Global Affairs, International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and former research analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. She works to promote youth awareness of nuclear policy issues, with a particular focus on nuclear security and terrorism. In 2018, she and Kate Hewitt received the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Rieser Award for their essay "American students aren’t taught nuclear weapons policy in school. Here’s how to fix that problem."
Kate Hewitt, 2018 Rieser Award Recipient
Federal Contractor, National Nuclear Security Administration
Kate Hewitt is a federal contractor at the National Nuclear Security Administration and a former Hebert Scoville Peace Fellow. Prior to joining the NNSA, she worked as a research assistant at a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, DC. In 2018, she and Erin Connolly received the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Rieser Award for their essay "American students aren’t taught nuclear weapons policy in school. Here’s how to fix that problem."
Austin Hirsch, Honoree
Partner, Reed Smith LLP
Austin Hirsch is a partner at Reed Smith’s Global Corporate Group. Hirsch has been an Executive Committee member of Reed Smith and former Managing Partner of Reed Smith Chicago’s legacy firm, Sachnoff and Weaver. His practice encompasses all aspects of business law, including mergers and acquisitions with both financial and strategic parties, corporate and real estate finance, venture capital transactions, partnership and joint ventures, and international transactions, with special expertise in counseling significant privately owned companies, trust and wealth planning, and family offices. He has served as a director of various companies and as an advisor for family offices. Hirsch is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award by the Chicago Bar Foundation and a Co-Chair of Lawyer Lend-A-Hand to Youth.
Hirsch is Chair of the Board and Trustee of the Benton Foundation. He is Chair and President of The Selfhelp Foundation and recipient of the Selfhelp Special Service Award. Hirsch is also a member of the Board of Managers of the Chicago Bar Foundation and Chair of the Investment Committee, as well as a member of the Finance Committee of the Chicago Bar Association. He received a BS in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1970 (CPA certificate) and went on to complete his JD at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in 1973. He is a director of the Bulletin's Governing Board.
Eric Horvitz, Keynote Speaker
Technical Fellow, Microsoft; Director, Microsoft Research Labs
Eric Horvitz is a technical fellow at Microsoft, where he also serves as the director of Microsoft Research Labs. His research centers on the uses of artificial intelligence (AI) and its challenges in the open world. Horvitz serves on the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors.
Horvitz is a recipient of both the Feigenbaum Prize and the Allen Newell Award for his contributions in AI. He chairs Microsoft’s Aether committee on AI, effects, and ethics in engineering and research; established the One Hundred Year Study on AI at Stanford University; and co-founded the Partnership on AI. Horvitz has served as president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and on advisory committees for the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, DARPA, and the Allen Institute for AI. He received PhD and MD degrees at Stanford University.
Former US Secretary of Defense
Dr. William J. Perry's career has spanned academia, industry, entrepreneurship, government, and diplomacy. He served as the 19th Secretary of Defense for the United States from February 1994 to January 1997. In 2007, Perry, George Shultz, Sam Nunn, and Henry Kissinger together formed the Nuclear Security Project, articulating practical steps to reduce current nuclear dangers. In 2013, he founded the William J. Perry Project in order to engage and educate the public on these issues; in 2015, he published My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, a personal account of his lifelong effort to reduce the threat of nuclear catastrophe. He is chair of the Bulletin's Board of Sponsors.
Dr. Perry is currently the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor (emeritus) at Stanford University. He received a B.S. and M.S from Stanford, and a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State, all in mathematics. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom(1997) and the Knight Commander of the British Empire (1998). Dr. Perry has received numerous other awards, including the American Electronic Association's Medal of Achievement (1980) , the Eisenhower Award (1996), the Marshall Award (1997), the Forrestal Medal (1994),the Henry Stimson Medal (1994), and the Arthur Bueche Medal (1996) by the National Academy of Engineering. He has also received decorations from the governments of Albania, Bahrain, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, South Korea, Poland, Slovenia, and Ukraine.
Dr. Perry is the father of five, grandfather of eight, and a great-grandfather of four. He continues to travel the world in pursuit of his goal to eliminate the ongoing danger of nuclear weapons.
Reed Smith LLP, Honoree
Reed Smith LLP is a global relationship law firm with more than 1,700 lawyers in 29 offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Founded in 1877, the firm represents leading international businesses, from Fortune 100 corporations to mid-market and emerging enterprises.
Reed Smith has long supported the Bulletin in its mission to ensure that scientific advances make life better, not worse.
Lowell Sachnoff, Honoree
Senior Counsel, Reed Smith LLP
Sachnoff is senior counsel based in the Chicago office of Reed Smith LLC and is a founding member of Reed Smith Chicago’s legacy firm, Sachnoff & Weaver. He focuses his practice on mediation and arbitration, mentoring young lawyers and a wide range of pro bono work including the successful representation of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison and their relocation to safe countries abroad and protecting the civil rights of patients confined in state mental hospitals.
Sachnoff’s dedication to civil rights and social justice has earned him numerous awards: the American Lawyer 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Constitution Society 2010 Legal Legend Award, and the 2007 Edwin A. Rothschild Lifetime Achievement Award for Civil Rights from the Chicago Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He has served as a visiting lecturer on complex litigation and mental health law at the University of Chicago Law School, Northwestern University School of Law, and Chicago-Kent College of Law. Sachnoff is a board member of the Business and Professional People for the Public Interest and The National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and has served on the board of the Lawyers Alliance for Nuclear Arms Control. Sachnoff is a graduate of Harvard College in 1952 and the Harvard Law School in 1957 and he served as an officer in Naval Intelligence during the Korean War.
2019 Meeting Speakers
Confirmed speakers for the 2019 Annual Meeting are listed below, with more to be announced in the coming weeks. Check back regularly to see the updated list!
Asha M. George
Executive Director, Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense
Director, Defense Digital Service, US Department of Defense
Major General (Ret.), US Airforce; Adjunct Faculty Member, John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values, University of Notre Dame; Research Professor, George Mason University
Director, International Security Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University; member, Science and Security Board, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Professor Emerita and Graduate School Professor, Department of Science and Technology, Cornell University
Professor Emeritus, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University; member, Science and Security Board, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Partner, Brand and Organizational Strategy, NucleusStrategy
William J. Perry
Former US Secretary of Defense; Chair, Board of Sponsors, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Edmund G. Brown Jr.
Former Governor State of California; Executive Chair, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists