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Leo Szilard: Visionary in Science and Society


As part of the university CP-1 75th anniversary celebrations, please join us for a lecture and discussion on Leo Szilard.

December 1, 2017 - 10:30am (coffee at 10:00am)House_Mil_Aff_thumb.jpeg
Physics Research Center (PRC) room 201
933 E 56th Street
Chicago IL 60637

Talk can be viewed here:

Physicist, biologist, and arms-control activist, Leo Szilard (1898-1964) co-designed the world’s first nuclear reactor with Enrico Fermi, and was a professor at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1960.  Szilard was the first to conceive (and patent) a nuclear chain reaction, and lived both sides of the arms race: working first to prevent, then to hasten, and finally to outlaw nuclear weapons. His nuclear arms control proposals appeared in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the University of Chicago Law Review and were collected in his political satire The Voice of the Dolphins and Other Stories. Remembered for leading fellow scientists to control the weapons they had created, Szilard had a rare ability to foresee political trouble, and a lively imagination to devise practical solutions. He is credited with gaining Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev assent to a Moscow-Washington “Hot-Line” and hailed for ingenious proposals to resolve international conflicts. In 1962, Szilard created the first political action committee for arms control, The Council for a Livable World. Biographer William Lanouette will reveal Leo Szilard’s many novel ideas for dealing with our uncertain future.

Bill-Version_3_thumb.jpegWilliam Lanouette is the author of Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, the Man Behind the Bomb. He covered science and politics as a journalist at Newsweek, The National Observer, National Journal, and was Washington Correspondent for The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. More recently, he was a Senior Analyst for Energy and Science Issues at the US Government Accountability Office.