Jerry Wiesner: Scientist, Statesman, Humanist : Memories and Memoirs

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MIT Press, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 612 pages
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The recurring theme in Jerry Wiesner's varied and distinguished career was what Senator Edward M. Kennedy calls in the foreword to this book a "passionate involvement to make a better world, and a safer world." His odyssey as a public citizen included work as an acoustician for folklorist Alan Lomax in the Library of Congress, research at MIT's Radiation Lab and at Los Alamos, service as President John F. Kennedy's Special Assistant for Science and Technology, and his years at MIT as professor, dean, provost, and president. At Los Alamos he received what he called "a valuable education on issues that were to occupy a large part of my life." The lessons learned informed his later work on nuclear disarmament; he was a pivotal adviser on both the 1963 partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the 1972 ABM Treaty and an early member of the Pugwash group, an organization of scientists from both sides of the Iron Curtain. His many accomplishments as president of MIT similarly reflected his conviction that science and technology cannot be separate from society.

Jerry Wiesner had long planned an autobiographical book that would combine personal experience and historical interpretation, covering the wide range of interests that he compared to "the many parts of a giant jigsaw puzzle," but the commitments of his postretirement life and a serious stroke in 1989 kept him from completing it. Jerry Wiesner, Scientist, Statesman, Humanist, conceived by Wiesner's longtime colleague and friend Walter Rosenblith, fills the gap between the unwritten autobiography and the still-to-be-written biography, assembling reminiscences of Wiesner by such friends as Alan Lomax, Theodore C. Sorensen, and John Kenneth Galbraith, and writings by Wiesner himself, including the autobiographical pieces that would have been the basis of his own book.

 

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Contents

Brothers
5
Abiding Optimist
19
Scientist Educator Sailor
33
A Man for All Seasons
49
Educator Political Leader Much Loved Friend
65
The Search for Soviet Cybernetics
81
Peace Became His Profession
99
A Lesson in Wisdom
113
Convocation Speech
343
Inaugural address as MIT president October 7 1971
361
CBS Westchester New York October 23 1980
379
Wiesner Building dedication MIT October 2 1985
399
Survival the Moral Equivalent of the Arms Race
413
National Geographic Society Washington D C January 1988
429
In Memory of Andrei Sakharov
433
Cambridge Mass December 1991
447

Giving Women a Break When Few Men Did
137
Continuing Communication
157
A Voice of Reason
177
A Random Walk through the Twentieth Century
197
Los Alamos
219
Technological Capabilities Panel
233
Kennedy
267
ABM
293
Gorbachevs Revolution
327
Letter to John F Kennedy February 20 1961
461
Letter to Edward M Kennedy June 25 1968
477
Letter to Charles Smith March 14 1984
491
Letter to Georgiy Arbatov March 18 1987
505
Chronology
521
A Note on Sources
539
Registry of Names
557
Acknowledgments
593
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Walter A. Rosenblith (1913--2002) was Institute Professor, Chair of the Faculty, and Provost at MIT.

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