Editor Comments for October 2003 Issue of P&S
This issue of P&S contains the first installment of a series of articles on the dangers of nuclear weapons after the Cold War. JM brought the idea of a P&S multi-issue publication project to Professor Wolfgang Panofsky in his office at SLAC. He suggested a series on nuclear weapons dangers post Cold War, along with the names of several possible contributors to such a series. We found his suggestion to be attractive because several of the foreign policy stances of the Bush Administration (e.g., the proposal to use nuclear weapons for destroying underground caches of biological weapons), as well as recent news events, make the publication of a series on the subject of nuclear dangers to be timely: Shortly before the writing of this comment, North Korea announced to the world that it was going to test a nuclear weapon.
We are pleased to publish, in this issue of P&S, two articles by Professor Panofsky. The first is a kickoff/summary article for the series on nuclear weapons danger following the Cold War. The second, itself part of the series, discusses a proposed method by the Bush administration to handle the nuclear threat against the U.S.A. via ballistic missile defense. Suggestions for alternative nuclear weapon postures are given here by Professor Michael May, now at Stanford but formerly at Lawrence Radiation Laboratory at Livermore. The threat of nuclear weapons in the hands of "rogue" states is addressed by Phil Coyle, formally Director of Operational Test and Evaluation in the Dept. of Defense. Charles Ferguson extends our interest from nuclear explosives to more general nuclear threats. We expect that a near-future issue of P&S will feature an article concerning the smuggling of fissile materials. We are also seeking out expert authors for articles on the dangers of command and control failure, as well as the broad issue of nuclear proliferation. We wish to take this opportunity to thank Professor Panofsky for his catalytic role in getting this series started.
Also in this issue are several reactions from readers, and a response from one of the concerned parties, to the issues raised, in the previous Physics and Society, about the role of physics as a profession in dealing with their country's military and foreign policies.
Jeffrey Marque and Al Saperstein