Inglis, David Rittenhouse, 1905-1995. Conversations with David Inglis: Part 4. The Post-War Years: Scientists in PoliticsDavid R. Inglis Papers (FS 033). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries
Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries
(00:01:31)Perceptions of scientists
getting involved in politics in post-war period.
(00:04:45)Formation of Atomic Energy
Commission to continue work of laboratories like Argonne and Oak Ridge separate from
(00:08:40)Efforts to educate the public about nuclear energy.
(00:09:49)Military liaison committee to AEC and scientific representation on AEC advisory
committee; Oppenheimer's key role on General Advisory Committee.
(00:15:00)Spirit of creation of Federation of
American Scientists and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
(00:17:30)Bob Wilson and
Willy Higginbottom in founding Los Alamos Association of Scientists and FAS.
(00:20:35)Pugwash conferences founded as means of communicating with Soviet scientists on fundamental political
issues; Russian scientists' attitudes toward discussing politics and introducing ideas of
control of nuclear weapons into Russia.
(00:26:44)Changes in attitudes among politicians
with respect to supporting basic research in post-war years.
Argonne National Laboratory as place to build Chicago Pile 2 and test reactor design as
well as pure physics.
(00:31:30)Environment at Argonne vs Johns Hopkins; freedom of
research, better funding, no teaching, and associations with Univ. of Chicago made Argonne a
preferable place for Inglis, enabling him to take part in political activity for arms
limitation in a way not possible in academia.
(00:35:50)Comparison of big physics today
versus small physics of 1930s; transition period after war to expanded governmental support
(00:37:33)Support for weapons work among scientists; Teller who
support military establishment; contrast with Szilard, Wigner, and von Neumann, four
Hungarians with outsized impact on U.S. policy.
(00:42:26)Inglis's role in relaying
scientific concern to policy makers; was largely a persona non grata in policy circles for
his vocal opposition; primarily involved in research and informing public except during
period as chair of FAS when he testified in confirmation hearing for Lewis Strauss for Sec.
(00:49:48)Failures of disarmament due to profit motive and military-industrial
complex, idealist scientists could not address the problems any better than politicians; two
successes have been partial test ban (not really a success), non-proliferation treaty
(despite lack of success of adherence), and ABM treaty; successes now being subverted by
Star Wars SDI initiative.
(00:55:18)Controversy over fallout shelters in 1950s; Inglis's
objection to shelters after the advent of the H-bomb.
(00:59:20)General spirit in
McCarthy era, Russo-phobia, and personal impact on scientists; pursuit of Donald Flanders at
Argonne due to friendship with Alger Hiss, leading to suicide, "sacrifice to McCarthy."
(01:05:20)Foundations of Oppenheimer case; interrogation at the Gray Board hearings; role
of Lewis Strauss.