MIT Student Pugwash is a chapter of Student Pugwash USA, an educational, nonprofit organization that strives to add a dimension to scientific study that goes beyond formulae and figures. Activities encourage students to probe the reasons for scientific advancement and the implications of technology on citizens' everyday lives.
While examining all sides of an issue, Student Pugwash increases students' ability to think independently about the issues that affect society -- issues that range from international conflict to environmental protection, from genetics research to civil rights. Student Pugwash focuses on the interplay that lies at the juncture of science, technology, and public policy.
Student Pugwash is guided by a respect for diverse perspectives and, as such, does not adopt advocacy positions on substantive issues. In order to create effective change, students first must understand the issues at stake, become trained in social activism, and contemplate their ethical and moral responsibility to themselves, and to society as a whole.
A student founded Student Pugwash USA in 1979 with the fundamental belief that young people play a vital role in determining the socially responsible application of science and technology. In 1955 Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, and other eminent scientists issued a manifesto urging scientists to "think in a new way" about their moral responsibilities in the nuclear age. In 1957, the first Pugwash Conference was held in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, bringing together some of the greatest scientific minds to address nuclear weapons issues and the social responsibility of scientists. Student Pugwash USA strives to convene the next generation of scientists around today's parallel issues.
Student Pugwash USA is the US student affiliate of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, recipients of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize, and is also a member of International Student/Young Pugwash.
Student Pugwash chapters in and around Boston include: Boston University, Harvard, Boston College, and WPI. We are currently establishing a chapter at Tufts -- if interested, get in touch. And there is one forming at the University of New Hampshire. There is also the Boston-area Professional Pugwash group for Pugwash alumni and professionals.
History of Pugwash at MIT
Student Pugwash has been active at MIT since the mid-1980s, and was central to the debate starting in 1985 of military research. Faculty and researchers part of the Pugwash Conferences have also been active; past and present figures include Bernard Feld, Herman Feshbach, David Frisch, Carl Kaysen, George Rathjens, Jack Ruina, Kosta Tsipis, Victor Weisskopf, and Jerome Wiesner.
- The Tech, 1/15/86: Forum considers engineering reform
- MIT News, 10/13/95: MIT's Wiesner, Feld were figures in Pugwash
- The Tech 10/17/95: Peace Prize Honors Pugwash; Several from MIT Affiliated
- The Tech, 11/1/96: Djerassi Explores Science Culture's 'Tribal Secrets'
- Tech Talk, 9/17/03: News You Can Use: Web sites compile subjects in two areas
- MIT News Office, 9/10/04: MIT students write voter's guide to science and technology issues
See MIT Student Pugwash's events archive from 1984-2007.
MIT Student Pugwash is grateful for the ongoing financial support of the MIT Graduate Student Council Funding Board, for the services of the MIT Association of Student Activities, and for the broad support of Student Pugwash USA.