CUP Web site

RSS Feed

New Books

Author Interviews

Author Events

Keep track of new CUP book releases:

For media inquiries, please contact our
publicity department

CUP Authors Blogs and Sites

American Society of Magazine Editors

Roy Harris / Pulitzer's Gold

Natalie Berkowitz / Winealicious

Leonard Cassuto

Mike Chasar / Poetry and Popular Culture

Erica Chenoweth / "Rational Insurgent"

Juan Cole

Jenny Davidson / "Light Reading"

Faisal Devji

William Duggan

James Fleming / Atmosphere: Air, Weather, and Climate History Blog

David Harvey

Paul Harvey / "Religion in American History"

Bruce Hoffman

Alexander Huang

David K. Hurst / The New Ecology of Leadership

Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh

Geoffrey Kabat / "Hyping Health Risks"

Grzegorz W. Kolodko / "Truth, Errors, and Lies"

Jerelle Kraus

Julia Kristeva

Michael LaSala / Gay and Lesbian Well-Being (Psychology Today)

David Leibow / The College Shrink

Marc Lynch / "Abu Aardvark"

S. J. Marshall

Michael Mauboussin

Noelle McAfee

The Measure of America

Philip Napoli / Audience Evolution

Paul Offit

Frederick Douglass Opie / Food as a Lens

Jeffrey Perry

Mari Ruti / The Juicy Bits

Marian Ronan

Michael Sledge

Jacqueline Stevens / States without Nations

Ted Striphas / The Late Age of Print

Charles Strozier / 9/11 after Ten Years

Hervé This

Alan Wallace

James Igoe Walsh / Back Channels

Xiaoming Wang

Santiago Zabala

Press Blogs


University of Akron

University of Alberta

American Management Association

Baylor University

Beacon Broadside

University of California

Cambridge University Press

University of Chicago

Cork University

Duke University

University of Florida

Fordham University Press

Georgetown University

University of Georgia

Harvard University

Harvard Educational Publishing Group

University of Hawaii

Hyperbole Books

University of Illinois

Island Press

Indiana University

Johns Hopkins University

University of Kentucky

Louisiana State University

McGill-Queens University Press

Mercer University

University of Michigan

University of Minnesota

Minnesota Historical Society

University of Mississippi

University of Missouri


University of Nebraska

University Press of New England

University of North Carolina

University Press of North Georgia

NYU / From the Square

University of Oklahoma

Oregon State University

University of Ottawa

Oxford University

Penn State University

University of Pennsylvania

Princeton University

Stanford University

University of Sydney

University of Syracuse

Temple University

University of Texas

Texas A&M University

University of Toronto

University of Virginia

Wilfrid Laurier University

Yale University

December 7th, 2017 at 8:00 am

Why I Work on Such a Frightening Topic

This week our featured book is Silencing the Bomb:
One Scientist’s Quest to Halt Nuclear Testing
by Lynn R. Sykes. Today, we are happy to present an excerpt from the book’s final chapter, in which Sykes explains why he chooses to continue his work toward banning nuclear testing.

I am sometimes asked why I work on such a frightening and depressing topic. I explain to myself that this is the major issue of my lifetime. With my scientific knowledge, I hope to contribute in some small way to preventing the use of nuclear weapons. I regard this as my duty as an informed citizen, especially in a country that possesses vast numbers of nuclear weapons. I hope this book will convince others to learn more about these issues and to become more involved. I support the advice of Edmund Burke, the British-Irish orator, political theorist, and philosopher, who said, “Nobody made a greater mistake than the one who did nothing because they could only do a little.”

A major nuclear exchange would be a cataclysmic disaster with a level of destruction unprecedented in the entire history of our species. Some people have argued that because nuclear weapons have not been used since 1945, the probability of their use is very small. The world has been fortunate that nuclear weapons have not been used since then, but this could end at a moment’s notice. False alarms, accidents, and the near miss of the Cuban missile crisis are not very reassuring about nuclear weapons’ not being used in the future. The probability per year of a nuclear exchange may be low, but if it happens, the consequences will be catastrophic. Getting the public and governments to deal with rare but catastrophic events is difficult but very necessary.

The Trump administration has made threatening remarks about nuclear weapons. As of mid-2017 it is not clear if it might either use nuclear weapons against an advisory such as North Korea or resume nuclear testing. If it resumed testing, the yields of explosions likely would be large, abrogating several arms control agreements, and other countries almost certainly would resume testing.

Remember to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy!

Post a comment