On July 7 the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs will be 30 years old. Most international institutions serve their original purpose well for 10-15 years and then decline, but continue to linger on. The more successful the institution, the longer it lingers, perhaps in the hopes that its past successes will be repeated. Pugwash seems to be a case in point. It has already begun to fade away, leaving its goal of complete nuclear disarmament still totally unfulfilled.

During its lifetime Pugwash has held 36 large conferences—in capitalist, communist and Third World countries—and a number of smaller, specialized symposia. The next conference will be held this August in Austria. Early conferences discussed the consequences of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare, and disarmament and world security; recently, development issues have been added. The participants in the early years were mainly natural scientists, but later social scientists were encouraged to...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?