From Hiroshima to Today

This is a Convocation Lecture given at Monmouth College on 18 November 2003. It was given in the context of Technology and the Human Condition and is still relevant today.

MONMOUTH COLLEGE LECTURE

General Interest
Nuclear Policy
Politics

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Deployed Nuclear Weapons and Force Structure

If the number of nuclear weapons is to be further reduced in the future, it is important that they be deployed in a survivable mode if their reduction is not to lead to an increased probability of use. Reducing nuclear force levels can lead to instability in a time of crisis.

The following letter was published in the June 5/June 6 2010 UK edition of the Financial Times:

UK must keep to sea-based deterrent

The possibility was recently reported by James Blitz (‘Nuclear warhead total revealed’, May 27) – with regard to the Strategic Defence and Security Review – that according to ‘Whitehall insiders’ the SDSR ‘will contain an examination of whether Britain should move to a land or air-launched deterrent’. Such a move should be rejected.

The reason is simple: a British air or land-based deterrent is not survivable. This means there is an enormous incentive to move to a launch-on-warning policy. Nuclear forces must be survivable if the probability of nuclear use is not to be increased with decreasing arsenals. For countries without strategic depth like Britain and France this means a sea-based deterrent. That is why France has already eliminated its land-based nuclear component.

If Britain is to maintain a survivable deterrent it will have to anti-up the cost for new Tridents as the existing force ages. A minimum of three is needed to maintain one in its operational area – ie, one on alert, one in transit (where it could be vulnerable), and one in dry dock.

If we are to move to a world where the number of nuclear weapons is much reduced, careful attention must be paid to force-structure.”

Nuclear Policy
Politics

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Climate Change: The Sun’s Role

Slides from a talk given at the Faculty Club of the University of California, Berkeley on 29 May 2010 for A Celebration of Hugh DeWitt’s Contributions on His Eightieth Birthday .

Climate Change: The Sun’s Role-DeWitt Symposium 29 May 2010-Viewgraphs

Global Warming
Politics

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Climate Change, Energy, and National Security

A talk given on 18 May 2010 at the 4th International Conference on Climate Change.

2010 International Conference on Climate Change

General Interest
Global Warming
Politics

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Are U.S. Nuclear Weapons Reliable?

An exchange in Nature on the reliability of of U.S. nuclear weapons and the need for the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW).

Nature 12Nov09-Warheads

General Interest
Nuclear Policy
Politics

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Interglacials, Milankovitch Cycles, and Carbon Dioxide

The existing understanding of interglacial periods is that they are initiated by Milankovitch cycles enhanced by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.  During interglacials, global temperature is also believed to be primarily controlled by carbon dioxide concentrations, modulated by internal processes such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation.  Recent Work challenges the fundamental bases of these conceptions.

Journal of Climatology, Volume 2014, Article ID 345482

http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/345482

J of Climatology,2014, 345482

 

 

Global Warming

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Quantum Mechanics and Motion: A Modern Perspective

Physics Essays Vol. 23, pp. 242-247 (2010)

This essay is an attempted to address, from a modern perspective, the motion of a particle. Quantum mechanically, motion consists of a series of localizations due to repeated interactions that, taken close to the limit of the continuum, yields a world-line. If a force acts on the particle, its probability distribution is accordingly modified. This must also be true for macroscopic objects, although now the description is far more complicated by the structure of matter and associated surface physics.

Quantum Mechanics and Motion-A Modern Perspective

Essays in Science
Physics

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Blessing in Disguise

The real tipping point for civilization is the beginning of another Ice Age—not a world a few degrees warmer.

 

USA Today Magazine (November 2009) pdf

General Interest
Global Warming
USA Today Magazine

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Global Warming: A Blessing in Disguise

USA Today Magazine (November 2009)

“The real tipping point for civilization is the beginning of another Ice Age–not a world a few degrees warmer.”

USA Today Mag-Nov09

General Interest
Global Warming
Politics

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The Demystification of Emergent Behavior

Emergent behavior that appears at a given level of organization
may be characterized as arising from an organizationally lower level in
such a way that it transcends a mere increase in the behavioral degree of
complexity. It is therefore to be distinguished from systems exhibiting
chaotic behavior, for example, which are deterministic but unpredictable
because of an exponential dependence on initial conditions. In emergent
phenomena, higher-levels of organization are not determined by lowerlevels
of organization; or, more colloquially, emergent behavior is often
said to be “greater than the sum of the parts”. The concept plays an
especially important but contentious role in the biological sciences. This
essay is intended to demystify at least some aspects of the mystery of
emergence.

(This is an updated and expanded version of the original post with some portions rewritten to enhance clarity.)

EMERGENT BEHAVIOR

Biology
Essays in Science
General Interest
Physics

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