The Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs take their name from the location of the first meeting, which was held in 1957 in the village of Pugwash, Nova Scotia, Canada, birthplace of the American philanthropist Cyrus Eaton, who hosted the meeting. The stimulus for that gathering was a Manifesto issued in 1955 by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein -- and signed also by Max Born, Percy Bridgman, Leopold Infeld, Frederic Joliot-Curie, Herman Muller, Linus Pauling, Cecil Powell, Joseph Rotblat, and Hideki Yukawa -- which called upon scientists of all political persuasions to assemble to discuss the threat posed to civilization by the advent of thermonuclear weapons. The 1957 meeting was attended by 22 eminent scientists (seven from the United States, three each from the Soviet Union and Japan, two each from the United Kingdom and Canada, and one each from Australia, Austria, China, France, and Poland).
Since then, Pugwash Conferences have been held annually, attended by 150 to 250 people , at locations all over the world, and there have been more frequent topical Workshops and Symposia typically involving 30 to 50 participants. A rather decentralized organizational structure has been created to coordinate and finance this activity. A basic rule is that participation is always by individuals in their private capacity (not as representatives of governments or organizations).
The purpose of the Pugwash Conferences is to bring together, from around the world, influential scholars and public figures concerned with reducing the danger of armed conflict and seeking cooperative solutions for global problems. Meeting in private as individuals, rather than as representatives of governments or institutions, Pugwash participants exchange views and explore alternative approaches to arms control and tension reduction with a combination of candour, continuity, and flexibility seldom attained in official East-West and North-South discussions and negotiations.
In order to ensure continuity of activity between the major events described above, many of the nations from which Pugwash participants are drawn have chosen to establish national groups, which meet more frequently, and engage in research and public relations activities in areas related to the purposes of International Pugwash. The British Pugwash Group is one such group, and has for many years been working on problems relating to non-proliferation and disarmament, covering both nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. In recent years, it has engaged in projects relating to the UK plutonium stockpile, the future of the UK Trident deterrent, and problems in the verification of nuclear weapon dismantlement.
Dr Ian Crossland has worked in the UK nuclear industry for more than 40 years. Until 1990 he worked on the in-reactor behaviour of fuel. Since that time he has specialised in decommissioning and radioactive waste management. Since 2003 he has worked as an independent consultant to IAEA and several national radioactive waste management organisations in Europe. He has a particular interest in developing disposal solutions for disused sealed radioactive sources (e.g. old radium sources) in countries with minimal nuclear infrastructure. For the past few years, he has been involved with the ongoing cleanup and decommissioning at Chernobyl. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the British Pugwash Group and was an author of the 2009 British Pugwash report on “The Management of Separated Plutonium in the UK”.
John L. Finney
Prof. John Finney (UK) is Emeritus Professor of Physics at University College London, and has been Head of Neutron Science and ISIS Chief Scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Science Coordinator of the European Spallation Source Project. He is a member of both the Council and Executive Committee of International Pugwash, a member of the Editorial Board of Science & Global Security, chair of the WMD Awareness Programme and a past Chairman of British Pugwash. In this context, his particular interests have included scientific issues relating to nuclear weapons policy, non-proliferation and disarmament, and he has been active in raising public awareness of nuclear weapons issues
Carol Naughton helped to establish, and now coordinates, the UK-based WMD Awareness Programme, founded by the Nobel Peace Laureate, Joseph Rotblat. The programme works to raise awareness of the dangers of current nuclear weapons policies and proliferation. With a long history of involvement in peace and disarmament issues, Carol Naughton has followed the NPT process closely for many years, providing insight and analysis throughout the last two review cycles from 2002 – 2010.She also coordinates the UK Nuclear Weapons Parliamentary Liaison Group and is vice chair of the British Pugwash Group.
Dr Nick Ritchie is a Lecturer in International Security at the University of York. He has been researching and publishing on nuclear disarmament, proliferation and arms control since 2000. He previously worked at the University of Bradford’s Department of Peace Studies and the independent NGO Oxford Research Group. His current research focuses on the UK programme to replace its current Trident nuclear weapons system. He is Honourary Secretary of the British Pugwash Committee and on the Board of Advisors of the UK Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) at the Royal United Services Institute.
Christopher Watson - BPG Chairman
Dr Christopher Watson was elected as chairman of the British Pugwash Group in May 2011. Prior to this, he was deputy chairman of BPG for the preceding three years, and has been a member of the Pugwash movement since 1969. He has had a career spanning 35 years in the UK nuclear industry, including 17 years at Culham, working on Controlled Fusion research (culminating in 5 years on the JET project). More recently he became the Business Development Manager for AEA Technology in Russia, a task which involved developing collaborative programmes with Russian colleagues in the management of the nuclear legacy of the Former Soviet Union. Since his retirement in 2002, he has been a consultant to the UK government in nuclear-related aid programmes, including a programme on the nuclear legacy in NW Russia (nuclear submarines and their spent fuel and radwaste) and its Closed Nuclear Cities programme.