From the Physics Today Archive – April 2015

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By: Amanda Nelson, Associate Archivist

November 1996 Physics Today coverKenneth Ford, former head of the American Institute of Physics, was recently in the New York Times for refusing to censor his new book, Building the H Bomb: A Personal History, at the request of the Department of Energy. The manuscript has now been published, and is available through Amazon as an e-book, with print copies shortly to follow. Our former historian, Alex Wellerstein, provided the historical perspective towards biographies and censorship on his Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog.

We have over a dozen oral history interviews conducted by Ford in our collection, including the interview with Richard Garwin mentioned in the New York Times article. To find out more about Ford’s career, we also have an interview with him from 1997 conducted by Alexei Kojevnikov, also available online.

The related balancing act between openness and classifying science research in arms control has existed for many years. Back in November 1996, Physics Today published a special edition discussing various topics on nuclear arms control and the history of nuclear weapons. This issue will be available as free content for the next six months.