At the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and elsewhere, I’ve been able to interview some of the smartest and most influential people in government, think tanks, academia and the media. Here are few interviews that I think stand up to time’s test.
Siegfried “Sig” Hecker
In this interview for the Bulletin‘s 75th anniversary edition (later published as a book), I asked renowned nuclear policy expert and former Los Alamos National Laboratory director Sig Hecker to suggest concrete actions world leaders can take to reduce nuclear risk. He explained why attending to history is vital to success in this arena. The interview.
In this interview, also for the Bulletin‘s 75th, I asked Nobel chemistry laureate Jennifer Doudna whether she thought scientists could refrain from editing the inheritable human germline and all the potential sci-fi scenarios such risky research could create. Her answer: “Time will tell.” The interview.
In his classic History of the Peloponnesian War, Greek historian Thucydides wrote: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” In his critically acclaimed 2017 book, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, eminent international security analyst Graham Allison explored this phenomenon today when, as in ancient Greece, a rising power threatens to displace a ruling one. My interview with Allison is here.
In 1983, Ted Koppel was fairly early in what became a 25-year run as the anchor and managing editor of Nightline, the storied ABC News public affairs program, when the network asked him to host a different kind of show. ABC was planning to air a television movie named The Day After that presented such an unvarnished depiction of the aftermath of a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union as to have become a cause célèbre, even before it was aired. Other movies might be more frightening or gruesome, the New York Times’ John Corry wrote in a pre-broadcast review, but “[a]s a primer on the horror of thermonuclear war, this is effective, a graphic rendering of the pit.” My interview with Koppel on the 35th anniversary of the airing of Nightline‘s extraordinary The Day After discussion is here.
A short conversation with the delightful Werner Herzog—a renowned filmmaker with a penchant for the offbeat—about his aims in making the documentary Meeting Gorbachev is here.
Here nuclear arms control and nonproliferation expert Jon Wolfsthal, who held key national security positions during the Obama administration, provides his wide-ranging views on how Congress might deal with US plans for a $1 trillion-plus modernization of its nuclear arsenal. The interview.