Letter from Robert Hofstadter, Henry Taube, William Fowler, and George Wald to Marshall W. Nirenberg
This recalls the statement signed by Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, and seven other Nobel laureates in 1955 renouncing
thermonuclear weapons and promoting the establishment of peaceful means of settling international disputes. The authors ask
Nirenberg to join a new statement, part of a five day conference involving more than one hundred environmental and peace organizations
in Washington, D.C. The statement, an elaboration of the Einstein-Russell "Manifesto" of 1955, is included with the
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1984-09-06 (September 6, 1984)
Nirenberg, Marshall W.
Reproduced with permission of Henry Taube.
Beyond the Laboratory: Professional, Personal, and Political Life, 1967-2002
Policy and Action Statement for the Second Biennial Conference on the Fate of the Earth [1984?]
Nearly three decades ago Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein, along with seven other Nobel laureates, published a statement
calling for the renunciation of thermonuclear weapons and the establishment of peaceful means for settling international disputes.
Since that time, the prospects for global nuclear war have become even more dire. Recent studies on the possibilities of
a nuclear war triggering a nuclear winter now confirm earlier fears that nuclear war might well mean an end to life on this
planet. Despite the increasing danger, national policy-makers are devoting ever more money to armaments and continue to ignore
pressing environmental needs. Another warning by the world's intellectual leaders -- in the spirit of the Einstein-Russell
"Manifesto" -- is long overdue.
We are writing to ask you to join a new statement that will be issued in the third week of September. Originally drafted
by David Brower of the Friends of the Earth and Russell Peterson of the National Audubon Society and the Global Tomorrow Coalition,
this statement is part of a five-day-long conference involving more than one hundred environmental and peace organizations.
The Conference begins September 19, 1984 in Washington, D.C. and is the second in a series of biennial conferences sharing
the theme "Conservation and Security in a Sustainable Society."
A draft of the new statement (a Policy and Action Statement) is enclosed, along with a Legislative Action Agenda spelling
out some short-term steps for action. We urge you to read the statements and consider becoming a signatory. Some of us endorse
only the Policy and Action Statement, while others of us endorse both. Please use your own judgment about whether you wish
to sign one or both.
As Russell and Einstein understood, the endorsement of scientists of international stature has the power to endow such a declaration
with universal respect and recognition. With your assistance and the assistance of other Nobel laureates, we hope to provide
an effective, widely-publicized call to action to prevent nuclear war and environmental decay.
We hope you will join us in endorsing this effort. Although the statements cannot be panaceas, they perhaps can alert the
public to the need for new understanding, responsibility, and commitment. It is hard to imagine an election year when such
an alert was more needed.
Since time is short, we would greatly appreciate if you -- or a representative -- could call Laura Nelson, the statement coordinator,
as soon as possible at (415)328-5137. Otherwise, she will try to reach you. The statement will be going to press within the
week, and your endorsement would be most useful before that date. However, if necessary, endorsements up until the first day
of the Conference, September 18, are possible.