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Helen Caldicott
p r e s e n t s
Symposium: The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction
The New York Academy of Medicine, 28 February - 1 March 2015
A unique, two-day symposium was held featuring an international panel of leading experts in disarmament, political science, existential risk, anthropology, medicine, nuclear weapons and other nuclear issues. The public was welcome.
The complete Symposium was live streamed and the webcast recording
is archived in its entirety at: <>.
8 Hypertext Presentation Titles link to Complete, Annotated Transcripts with Inlined Slides.
Thanks to Dale Lehman’s reproductions of the 7 Session’s MP3 files at the Internet Archive.
Individual MP3 files are also provided for every speaker and Q&A session.
DAY ONE: Saturday, February 28
    • Session 1
    • Session 2
    • Session 3
DAY TWO: Sunday, March 1
    • Session 1
    • Session 2
    • Session 3
    • Session 4
Moderated by:
Day One: Dr. Helen Caldicott, President of The Helen Caldicott Foundation
Day Two: Ray Acheson, Director, Reaching Critical Will

Russia and the U.S. possess 94% of the 16,400 nuclear weapons in the global nuclear arsenal. The U.S. maintains its first strike winnable nuclear war policy, and both countries have raised their nuclear arsenals to a higher state of alert because of the situation in the Ukraine. Furthermore it has just been announced that the administration has plans to replace every nuclear warhead and their delivery systems via ship, submarine, missile and plane, at a cost of one trillion dollars over the next thirty years.

This symposium, produced by The Helen Caldicott Foundation, addressed the following issues:

  • What are the human and technological factors that could precipitate a nuclear war between Russia and the U.S.; how many times have we come close to nuclear war and how long will our luck hold?
  • What are the ongoing technological and financial developments relevant to the nuclear weapons arsenals of the US and Russia?
  • What problems are associated with lateral proliferation of nuclear weapons via strenuous corporate marketing of nuclear technology?
  • What are the medical and environmental consequences of either a small or large scale nuclear war?
  • What are the underlying philosophical, political, and ideological dynamics that have brought life on earth to the brink of extinction?
  • How can we assess this situation from an anthropological perspective?
  • What is the pathology within the present political situation that could lead us to extinction?
  • How can this nuclear pathology be cured?

DAY ONE: Saturday, February 28

Morning Session

MP3 Recording of Day One, Session One [2:00:34, 115.7 MB]

9:00 - 9:30  
Moderator Dr. Helen Caldicott –  President, Helen Caldicott Foundation
Opening Remarks
9:35 - 9:55  
Theodore Postol –  MIT Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, & National Security Policy,
member of the Science, Technology and Global Security Working Group
Striving for Armageddon: The US Nuclear Forces
Modernization Program, Rising Tensions with Russia,
and The Increasing Danger of a World Nuclear Catastrophe
10:00 - 10:20  
Max Tegmark –  MIT Professor of Physics and author of Our Mathematical Universe
Artificial Intelligence and the Risk of Accidental Nuclear War
10:25 - 10:45  
Alan Robock –  Distinguished Professor, Dept. of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University
Nuclear Famine and Nuclear Winter: Climatic Effects
of Nuclear War, Catastrophic Threats to the Global Food Supply
10:50 - 11:20  
Q&A   [mp3 - 41:53, 40.2 MB]
11:20 - 11:50  

MP3 Recording of Day One, Session Two [1:29:56, 86.3 MB]

11:55 - 12:15  
Steven Starr –  Associate of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation,
former board member and senior scientist for Physicians for Social Responsibility
Nuclear War: An Unrecognized Mass Extinction Event Waiting To Happen
12:20 - 12:40  
Bruce Gagnon –  Secretary & Coordinator,
Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
The Ongoing and Dangerous Militarization of Space
12:45 - 1:05  
Bill Hartung –  Director, Common Defense Campaign:
Arms & Security Project, Center for International Policy
Inordinate Power and Pathological Dynamics
of the US Military Industrial Complex
1:05 - 1:30  
Q&A   [mp3 - 27:11, 26.1 MB]
1:30 - 2:30  

Afternoon Session

MP3 Recording of Day One, Session Three [1:57:56, 113.2 MB]

2:40 - 3:00  
Greg Mello –  Secretary and Executive Director, Los Alamos Study Group
The Role and Funding of the US Nuclear Weapons Labs
3:05 - 3:25  
Seth Baum –  Executive Director, Global Catastrophic Risk Institute
The Catastrophic Risk of Nuclear War
3:30 - 3:50  
Bob Alvarez –  Senior Scholar, Institute of Policy Studies
Lateral Proliferation Could Trigger a Nuclear Holocaust
3:55 - 4:15  
Robert Parry –  Editor, Consortium News
Ukraine and the Human Factor:
How Propaganda and Passions Can Risk Nuclear Conflagration
4:15 - 4:45  
Q&A   [mp3 - 30:24, 29.2 MB]
4:45 - 5:15  
5:00 - 7:15  
Film – On The Beach

DAY TWO: Sunday, March 1

Morning Session

MP3 Recording of Day Two, Session One [1:52:29, 107.9 MB]

9:00 - 9:15  
Opening by Moderator Ray Acheson –  Director, Reaching Critical Will
Report on Vienna conference
9:20 - 9:40  
Holly Barker –  Faculty, Department of Anthropology, University of Washington
Medical, Teratogenic and Genetic Pathology
Related to US Nuclear Testing in the Marshall Islands
9:45 - 10:05  
Hans Kristensen –  Director, Nuclear Information Project, Federation of American Scientists
The Status and Trends of the World’s Nuclear Arsenals
10:10 - 10:30  
John Feffer –  Director, Foreign Policy In Focus, Institute of Policy Studies
Comparison of Spending on US Military Industrial Complex
and Prevention of Global Warming
10:35 - 11:05  
Q&A   [mp3 - 34:52, 33.5 MB]
11:05 - 11:35  

MP3 Recording of Day Two, Session Two [1:34:49, 90.9 MB]

11:40 - 12:00  
Janne Nolan –  Research Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs
Hooligans at the Gate: The Checkered History of Arms Control
12:05 - 12:25  
Mike Lofgren –  former congressional staffer, author of Anatomy of the Deep State
The Merger of Corporations and the US Government
as an Underlying Cause of the Current Nuclear Situation
12:30 - 12:50  
Susi Snyder –  Nuclear Disarmament Programme Manager, PAX, the Netherlands,
Author of 2013 & 2014 Don’t Bank On The Bomb reports
Don’t Bank on the Bomb
12:55 - 1:25  
Q&A   [mp3 - 32:06, 30.8 MB]
1:30 - 2:30  

Afternoon Session

MP3 Recording of Day Two, Session Three [2:05:15, 120.2 MB]

2:35 - 2:55  
Alex Wellerstein –  Historian of Science, Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies,
Stevens Institute of Technology
NukeMap, Personalizing the Bomb –
Teaching an Online Generation About The Effects of Nuclear Weapons
3:00 - 3:20  
Hugh Gusterson –  Professor of International Affairs and Anthropology,
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, George Washington University
Presentation of anthropological research over many years
studying the culture of nuclear weapons scientists
at Livermore and Los Alamos Labs
3:25 - 3:45  
Robert Scheer –  Clinical Professor, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism,
Editor in Chief, truthdig
The Madness Persists
3:50 - 4:10  
Noam Chomsky –  MIT Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics
A Pathology That Could Yield to Catastrophe if Not Cured
4:15 - 4:45  
Q&A   [mp3 - 28:18, 27.2 MB]
4:45 - 5:15  

MP3 Recording of Day Two, Session Four [59:28, 57.1 MB]

5:20 - 5:40  
David Krieger –  President, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Nuclear Weapons and Possible Human Extinction:
The Heroic Marshall Islanders
5:45 - 6:05  
Tim Wright –  Campaign Director, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)
A New Movement to Ban Nuclear Weapons
6:10 - 6:30  
Dr. Helen Caldicott –  President, Helen Caldicott Foundation
While There's Life There's Hope

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