The Ukraine War has reignited fears of use of nuclear weapons that have largely been absent from the public’s consciousness since the end of the Cold War. Contrary to the popular narrative that nuclear weapons have kept the world safe, their development and testing have had devastating humanitarian consequences around the world. From the Navajo nation to the atolls of Marshall Islands and French Polynesia, to the deserts of Kazhakstan, Algeria, and Australia, nuclear weapons have put millions of people in harm’s way, endangering their health and polluting their environments. In this course, participants will have the opportunity to review basic science behind nuclear weapons, consider recent research on the impact of their testing, explore our current understanding of nuclear winter, and imagine a future without nuclear weapons, as advanced by the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Presentation of scientific concepts and data will intertwine with discussions of nuclear justice and related international issues.
About the professor: Ivana Nikolic Hughes is the Director of Frontiers of Science and Senior Lecturer in Discipline in the Department of Chemistry. Ivana graduated from Caltech with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, with Honors, in 1999. While at Caltech, she was the recipient of several research fellowships, and conducted research in novel therapeutics at the University of Nis in Serbia, at ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, and at the University of Washington in Seattle. Ivana earned her PhD from Stanford University in 2005, working in the Department of Biochemistry as an American Heart Association Fellow. She studied enzymatic catalysis and protein evolution in the alkaline phosphatase superfamily. Ivana works each semester with ~20 Frontiers faculty members across all ranks on the development of the curriculum for the course and enhancement of teaching. In addition to her work in Frontiers, Ivana is a Faculty Affiliate of the K1 Project – Center for Nuclear Issues. As part of her efforts in K1, Ivana works with undergraduate students and faculty to promote informed debate on the topic of nuclear technologies, via research, writing and film. Recent work has been featured in Huffington Post, Motherboard, Gizmodo, Science News, and elsewhere.