PD Smith

Talk of megadeath grips & disturbs

02 March 2008 | Atomic Age, Doomsday Men, Dr Strangelove, Faust, Haber, Szilard, Teller, WMD | Post a comment

Physics Education has published a review of Doomsday Men in its March issue. It's by Peter Campbell who has written a long and thoughtful piece on the issues raised by the book. He gave it a five star rating. Here are some excerpts:

"Doomsday Men relates the grim story of increasing barbarism during the 20th century, associated with scientific advancement and the pursuit of superweapons. ... Smith argues that, like Faust, scientists gained terrible knowledge during the 20th century, at great cost: designing weapons of mass destruction, they sacrificed much of the idealism about science in the service of humanity. ... Doomsday Men is a gripping but disturbing read, from which my review could only select extracts. What it highlights for me is the unavoidable social responsibility that scientists carry for their work and the constant danger that scientists may be reduced to being little more than 'tools of war'. Smith concludes with a warning: 'Weapons of mass destruction have not gone away. Today, cold war tensions may have faded from the public mind and the media may be preoccupied with global warming, but the weapons are still out there, and the doomsday men are still at work developing new ones.'"

You can read the review here.

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