Scientists and Public Opinion—Differences between East and West

  • Sven Hellman


The goals for Pugwash, as expressed in the Proceedings of the Warsaw Conference in 1982, include some principles about the responsibility of scientists:

The Pugwash Movement is an expression of the awareness of the social and moral duty of scientists to prevent and overcome the actual and potential harmful effects of scientific and technological innovations…In addition to influencing governments by the transmission of the results of the debates, Pugwash should also aim at educating the scientific community and making an impact on public opinion by means of special types of meetings and by publications1.

At the same Conference, a Working Group, after discussing the responsibility of scientists, recommended to scientists throughout the world that they:
  1. 1.

    Consider it to be a major personal responsibility to help bring about solutions to the pressing problems of mankind.

  2. 2.

    Form links with the medical and health professions to alert the public to the danger of nuclear war.

  3. 3.

    Study all aspects of the arms race, including the tech?nical, social, political, economical, and psychological aspects.

  4. 4.

    Facilitate the participation of concerned scientists of all disciplines in relevant international conferences, especially those of the United Nations organizations.

  5. 5.

    Address wide audiences directly as well as through the mass media to provide the public with factual information concerning the arms race and its consequences.

  6. 6.

    Assist Peace Organizations by providing them with professional scientific knowledge.

  7. 7.

    Encourage scientific Academies, institutions, and journals to devote a reasonable part of their effort and attention to studies of problems relevant to peace and disarmament.

  8. 8.

    Promote education about disarmament, world peace, and international understanding and encourage the inclusion of these issues in the curricula of schools and univer-sities2.



Public Opinion Moral Duty Scientific Academy World Affair Potential Harmful Effect 
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  1. 1.
    Proceedings of the 32nd Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, Warsaw, 1982, p.77.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid, p.46.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sven Hellman

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