Twenty-nine of the nation's leading scientists and nuclear arms-control experts—including former nuclear-weapon designers, White House science advisers, and Nobel laureates—co-signed a letter to President Obama on Saturday supporting the nuclear deal. Among them were MIT professors Frank Wilczek (physics) and R. Scott Kemp (nuclear science and engineering).
The letter, written by Richard L. Garwin, Robert J. Goldston, Rush D. Holt, R. Scott Kemp, and Frank N. von Hippel, highlights their judgment that before the agreement Iran was only a few weeks away from having fuel for a nuclear weapon, whereas under the agreement it would take Iran many months, leaving adequate time for international response. The letter concludes that the agreement, if accepted by Congress, would "advance the cause of peace and security in the Middle East and can serve as a guidepost for future nonproliferation agreements."
The five authors and 24 co-signers are some of the world's most knowledgeable experts about nuclear weapons. Garwin, a physicist who helped design the world's first hydrogen bomb, served as a science advisor to three presidents, both Democrat and Republican.
Kemp, before founding MIT's Laboratory for Nuclear Security and Policy, served in Obama's State Department as the science advisor responsible for building the technical basis for a negotiated settlement with Iran. He is an expert on clandestine nuclear proliferation and centrifuge technology.
Holt, former deputy director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and a former member of Congress, initiated the effort. He now leads the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the world’s largest general scientific society.
Frank von Hippel, a Princeton physicist, served as assistant director for national security in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Clinton administration and was previously instrumental in stemming the buildup of weapons between the Soviet Union and the West.
Among the co-signiners are Siegfried Hecker, a Stanford professor and former director of the Los Alamos nuclear-weapons laboratory; Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Study; Sidney Drell of Stanford; and Nobel laureates Philip Anderson, Leon Cooper, Sheldon Glashow, David Gross, Burton Richter, and Frank Wilczek.