Francis Gavin


Francis J. Gavin is the first Frank Stanton Chair in Nuclear Security Policy studies and Professor of Political Science at MIT.

Before joining MIT, Francis J. Gavin was the Tom Slick Professor of International Affairs and the Director of the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas. From 2005 until 2010, he directed The American Assembly’s multiyear, national initiative, The Next Generation Project: U.S. Global Policy and the Future of International Institutions. He is the author of Gold, Dollars, and Power: The Politics of International Monetary Relations, 1958-1971 (University of North Carolina Press, 2004) and Nuclear Statecraft: History and Strategy in America’s Atomic Age (Cornell University Press, 2012).

Gavin received a Ph.D. and M.A. in Diplomatic History from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Studies in Modern European History from Oxford University, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago. He has been a National Security Fellow at Harvard’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, an International Security Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, a Research Fellow at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, a Smith Richardson Junior Faculty Fellow in International Security and Foreign Policy, a Donald D. Harrington Distinguished Faculty Fellow at the University of Texas, a Senior Research Fellow at the Nobel Institute, and an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar. Gavin is an Associate of the Managing the Atom Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, Senior Fellow of the Clements Program in History, Strategy, and Statecraft, a Distinguished Scholar at the Robert S. Strauss Center, an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, DC, a Senior Advisor to the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center, and a life-member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Recent Publications

Nuclear Statecraft, was published in 2012 by Cornell University Press in the series Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, edited by Robert J. Art, Robert Jervis, and Stephen M. Walt.

"Mind the Gap; Why Policymakers and Scholars Ignore Each Other, and What Should Be Done About It," in the Carnegie Reporter, Spring 2012.

Select commentary

"Re-Thinking World Power, from Shanghai to Silicon Valley," Global Trends 2030, July 23, 2012.  

"The Unknown Unknowns," Foreign Policy, with James B. Steinberg, February 14, 2012.


17.955 American Political Institutions II