Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blowing ourselves up

APS News has a fascinating article A Cold-War Folly? by Nina Byers. She describes a course entitled Nuclear Power: Power plants and weapons of war that she teaches UCLA undergraduates.

A couple of things I found particularly interesting. First, the graph below showing the dramatic variation in nuclear weapon stockpiles with time. Second, the diverse views that  physicists (esp. famous ones) had about the use of nuclear weapons, both against Japan, and after the war. Third, it was a good reminder that our current undergraduates were actually born after the end of the cold war!

A great strength of the US college system compared to Australia and Europe is the flexibility of the curriculum and broad general education requirements that allow and encourage such courses.

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