SLAC Colloquium Series

SLAC Colloquium Series


Colloquium Detail

Rekindling the Vision of President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev at Reykjavik: Steps Toward a World Free of Nuclear Weapons

Date: 3/30/2009

Sidney Drell
SLAC Deputy Director Emeritus and Hoover Institute Fellow

During the Cold War, the United States and the former Soviet Union relied on nuclear deterrence to navigate successfully through those perilous years. In today's world, with the accelerating spread of nuclear material, know-how, and weapons, we are facing an increasing danger that nuclear weapons, the deadliest weapons ever invented, may be acquired by ruthless national leaders or suicidal terrorists. Under these circumstances, relying on thousands of nuclear weapons for deterrence is becoming increasingly hazardous and decreasingly effective. What will it take to rekindle the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons that President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev brought to their remarkable summit at Reykjavik in 1986? Can a world-wide consensus be forged on a series of practical steps to escape the nuclear deterrence trap?

Sidney Drell won a MacArthur Fellowship in 1984 for his work in theoretical physics and international arms control. He has been a senior adviser to both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government on national security and defense issues for more than four decades. In 2000 he received the Enrico Fermi Award, the nation's oldest award in science and technology, for a lifetime of achievement in the field of nuclear energy. Also in 2000, Drell was one of ten scientists honored as "founders of national reconnaissance as a space discipline" by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

Last update: October 03, 2013