Letter from Linus Pauling to Salvador E. Luria [An Appeal by American Scientists to the Governments and People of the World]
This letter, sent to Luria and thousands of other scientists in the United States, initiated Pauling's best-known crusade
to combat nuclear weapons. In it, he asked Luria to join others in an "Appeal by American Scientists" urging the cessation
of nuclear weapons tests. Within ten days of its drafting, the letter received over two thousand positive responses. Pauling
released the appeal to the public on 3 June 1957, and subsequently sent a copy to President Eisenhower. The president lamented
the interference of "scientists that seem to be out of their own field of competence" in U.S. nuclear policies. On
15 January 1958, Pauling presented to the United Nations another petition signed by 9,235 scientists from around the world
protesting nuclear testing. Bowing to increased pressure in both countries, in 1963 the U.S. and Soviet Union signed the Partial
Test Ban Treaty, which banned nuclear tests in the atmosphere, underwater, and in space. In 1962, Pauling was awarded the
Nobel Peace Prize--he had earlier won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry--for his efforts to end atmospheric testing.
Number of Image Pages:
3 (181,544 Bytes)
1957-05-15 (May 15, 1957)
Luria, Salvador E.
Original Repository: American Philosophical Society. Library. Salvador Luria Papers
Reproduced with permission of Oregon State University Library, Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Politics, Science, and Social Responsibility
Letter from Salvador E. Luria to Linus Pauling (July 25, 1960)
An Appeal by American Scientists to the Governments and People of the World (December 1957) (in The Linus Pauling Papers)
I have formulated the enclosed Appeal by American Scientists, with the help of some colleagues in St. Louis. I hope that
you will give permission for your name to be attached to the Appeal. I should like to have about twenty signatures of leading
scientists on the copies of the Appeal which are to be sent, together with an explanatory letter, (a copy of which is also
enclosed) to various universities for further signatures.
If you are willing to sign, please return one copy of the Appeal to me at Pasadena by Monday, May 20. I hope that you will.
(Covering letter to be sent out with copies of the Appeal)
The attached Appeal by American Scientists has been formulated with the agreement of the scientists whose names are attached,
acting as individuals. We are asking all of our colleagues who agree with this Appeal to indicate their agreement by signing
a copy of the statement. It is understood that all signers are acting as individuals.
It is our plan to make this statement, and the names of the signers, public on or about June 3, 1957. The announcement will
be made by me in Pasadena.
We hope to obtain at least some hundreds of signatures of scientists in various fields, including those working in the area
We urge that you ask all of your colleagues to join in this Appeal. Please return lists of the names of signers to me as
soon as possible. It is important that all names be in my hands by June 1.
An Appeal By American Scientists To The Governments And People Of The World
We, the American scientists whose names are signed below, urge that an international agreement to stop the testing of nuclear
bombs be made now.
Each nuclear bomb test spreads an added burden of radioactive elements over every part of the world. Each added amount of
radiation causes damage to the health of human beings all over the world and causes damage to the pool of human germ plasm
such as to lead to an increase in the number of seriously defective children that will be born in future generations,
So long as these weapons are in the hands of only three powers an agreement for their control is feasible. If testing continues,
and the possession of these weapons spreads to additional governments, the danger of outbreak of a cataclysmic nuclear war
through the reckless action of some irresponsible national leader will be greatly increased.
An international agreement to stop the testing of nuclear bombs now could serve as a first step toward a more general disarmament
and the ultimate effective abolition of nuclear weapons, averting the possibility of a nuclear war that would be a catastrophe
to all humanity.
We have in common with our fellow men a deep concern for the welfare of all human beings. As scientists we have knowledge
of the dangers involved and therefore a special responsibility to make those dangers known. We deem it imperative that immediate
action be taken to effect an international agreement to stop the testing of all nuclear weapons.