In an effort to "stir public conscience," on the war in Vietnam, Luria proposed to Pauling that a group of prominent
scientists should protest the war by resigning their membership in the National Academy of Sciences. The NAS was created in
1863 during the Civil War so as to "investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science" whenever
called upon to do so by any department of the government. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors
that can be accorded a scientist.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (85,958 Bytes)
1965-03-25 (March 25, 1965)
Luria, Salvador E.
Original Repository: American Philosophical Society. Library. Salvador Luria Papers
Reproduced with permission of Daniel D. Luria.
Reproduced with permission of the American Philosophical Society.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Politics, Science, and Social Responsibility
Letter from Linus Pauling to Salvador E. Luria (March 29, 1965)
You have probably heard of several protest actions on Vietnam that a group of us in Boston has recently taken. The ad that
I enclose has now been republished by about 1000 professors from Eastern Universities.
We now feel that the time for polite questioning is past and that something more drastic and dramatic is needed. Also, most
of us feel the need to bear witness publicly of our personal refusal to acquiesce in a policy that is immoral and criminal.
The situation in my mind has the same nightmare quality I felt in Germany in the 'thirties and in France during the Algerian
war. In both situations not enough intellectuals were able or willing to stand up and be counted.
I thought that a possible move to stir public conscience would be for a group of members of the National Academy to resign
from membership with a public announcement stating their reason for doing so. Do you think this would be wise? Could one get
enough support? I can think of at least 10 members I could ask. Since I have not discussed this with anyone yet, however,
I cannot even guess how many might agree. I think one could try to get also some foreign associates to resign.
Please let me know your reaction to this suggestion as soon as possible because if anything is done it would be well to announce
it just before the April meeting of N.A.S.