Bernard T. Feld

  • The Collected Works of Leo Szilard, Volume 1

    Scientific Papers

    Leo Szilard, Bernard T. Feld, and Gertrud Weiss Szilard

    The subtitle of this volume is exact, for Leo Szilard's work ranged from physics to biology; he crossed over with ease from the world of neutrons to that of neurons, from the nuclei of atoms to the nuclei of cells.

    At a deeper level, all of these research activities converge, unified as they are by Szilard's interest in the fundamental ideas of order and organization that underlie them all. It is no accident, as Jacques Monod notes in his forward, that this interest should appear explicitly as the subject of one of his very first papers, and of his last. In the former, concerning the operations of an intelligent being on a thermodynamic system, Szilard anticipated by many years the entropic formulation of information theory, while the latter, “On Memory and Recall,” is concerned with the organization of the central nervous system.

    Szilard's spontaneous, unrepressed flow of ideas was followed by a critical process of selection and refinement, which may account for the relatively small number of published papers—under thirty—found in this collection. The papers are arranged chronologically, and their ordering comprises a resumé of Szilard's scientific life.

    The first group of papers, 1925-1939, all deal with various aspects of physics—thermodynamics, x-ray crystallography, and nuclear physics. The work in this last area includes studies of neutron bombardment and of the possibilities of nuclear fission and chain reactions, which Szilard was among the first to envision.

    The second group, 1940-1945, comprises the first publication of documents relating to the Manhattan Project, and reflects Szilard's part in it. Most of these documents were previously classified.

    There are no scientific papers from the years 1946-1948. These were years when Szilard was intensely active in the political and social arena, attempting to bring the atomic bomb under international control. Documents relating to this struggle, and his earlier leadership in efforts both to undertake the atomic project and to prevent the bomb's use without warning against Japan, will be collected in another volume. It was also during these critical years that Szilard's interest decisively turned from physics to biology.

    The third group covers the years 1949-1964, when Szilard's interest centered around biological problems. Among these are the regulation of cellular metabolism, antibody formation, the aging process, and the functioning of the central nervous system.

    A final section of the book reproduces patents and patent applications of historic importance dating from 1923 to 1959, and ranging from the invention of a refrigerator, jointly with Albert Einstein; an application anticipating the cyclotron in 1928; and the general concepts of a nuclear chain reaction in 1934 to the first patent on the nuclear reactor granted jointly to Fermi and Szilard.

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  • Impact of New Technologies on the Arms Race

    A Pugwash Monograph

    Bernard T. Feld, T. Greenwood, G. W. Rathjens, and S. Weinberg

    This is the record of the 10th Pugwash Symposium, an outgrowth of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. These conferences and the more specialized symposia are marked by a free and open exchange, in which world scientists and scholars share their facts and their thoughts. This enables them to give objective expression to their concerns about the effects of science and technology on mankind, positive and negative, potential and actual, and especially about the role of science and scientists in evolving sane arms policies. While unofficial, these meetings have often heralded several years in advance what were to become official national policies and international agreements.

    This symposium brought together participants from the United States, the Soviet Union, England, France, West Germany, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Israel, and India. The discussion that resulted include both “hard” technical analyses of specific weapons systems and assessments of long-range tendencies of a necessarily general and exploratory nature.

    The explosive growth of modern technology and the proliferation of armaments have been accelerating – and parallel – developments. Although there is a lag between new discoveries and their application in hardware, this lag is rather shorter in the case of weapons than for more peaceful products – hence the need to monitor as closely as possible and without delay the military application of new techniques. Thus a goal of the participants in this symposium was to trace the paths by which known and foreseeable technologies could be transferred, both into weapons and into arms control devices.

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Contributor

  • March 4, Anniversary Edition

    March 4, Anniversary Edition

    Scientists, Students, and Society

    Jonathan Allen

    Scientists debate the role of scientific research in the military-industrial complex and consider the complicity of academic science in American wars.

    On March 4, 1969, MIT faculty and students joined together for an extraordinary day of protest. Growing out of the MIT community's anguish over the Vietnam War and concern over the perceived complicity of academic science with the American war machine, the events of March 4 and the days following were a “positive protest”—a forum not only for addressing political and moral priorities but also for mapping out a course of action. Soon afterward, some of the participants founded the Union of Concerned Scientists. This book documents the March 4 protest with transcripts of talks and panel discussions. Speakers included Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Lionel Trilling, and Nobel Laureate George Wald, whose memorable speech, “A Generation in Search of a Future,” was widely circulated. Topics of discussion ranged from general considerations of the intellectuals' political responsibility to specific comments on the Vietnam War and nuclear disarmament.

    This fiftieth anniversary edition adds a foreword by Kurt Gottfried, a physicist, participant in the March 4 protest, and cofounder of the Union of Concerned Scientists. He writes, forcefully and hopefully, “Fifty years ago, a remarkable awakening was occurring among American scientists about their role in society. This volume offers a fascinating snapshot of that moment on March 4, 1969, and the activities and discussions collected here remain relevant and resonant today.” In an era when many politicians routinely devalue science, we can take inspiration from the March 4 protests.

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  • March 4

    Scientists, Students, and Society

    Jonathan Allen

    A movement of scientists and students concerned about the misuse of science and the proper relation between science and society, beginning to a large extent at M.I.T. and spreading rapidly to other campuses, emerged as a public force, “March 4.” Sponsored on the M.I.T. campus by the union of Concerned Scientists, this was a positive protest and the time was used in intensive examination of alternatives.

    It differed in other ways from many recent forms of protest. It was planned from the start as a joint effort between faculty and students. And the protestors – students and Nobel Laureates alike – set out to examine what could actually be done – done now or in reasonable time – by taking fully into account the reality and inertia that keep priorities out of balance in the present system.

    The text of this book consists of an essentially unedited transcription of the talks and panel discussions presented at March 4, thus preserving the intellectual flavor of the event, with its air of spontaneous groping toward mutual understanding among various groups of participants.

    The full text of George Wald's moving address, “A Generation is Search of a Future,” is included. This address, largely extemporaneous, has already had a far-reaching impact in published from through reprints and extracts distributed by several newspapers and magazines. Its influence will be extended now that it is available in the permanence of book form.

    Two other addresses are also available in the book: “Reconversion for What?” by Congressman George E. Brown, and “Protesting the Draft” by Father Mullanney.

    The remainder of the book reports the deliberations – the agreements and the disagreements – of five panels. These take up in turn a number of large but definable problem areas: the responsibility of intellectuals; reconversion and nonmilitary research opportunities; the academic community and government; Science Action Coordinating Committee proposals for further action; and the questions of arms control, disarmament, and national security. These panels were manned by some of the sharpest critics of national policy and some of the most thoughtful students of the American scene to be found today. Among others, including several students, Eugene Rabinowitch, Victor F. Weisskopf, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Salvador Luria, Francis Low, Thomas Schelling, Franz Schurmann, Bernard Feld, Hans Bethe (speaking on the ABM), and chemical weapons) served as members or chairmen of panels.

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