As negotiations on a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons get underway at the United Nations in New York on Monday, March 27th, 2017, over 3,300 professional scientists from more than 70 countries worldwide have published an open letter supporting the negotiations.
The signatories include 28 Nobel Prize winners in the fields of physics, chemistry and medicine. Internationally well-known figures such as Stephen Hawking, Peter Higgs and Charles D. Fergusson, President of the Federation of American Scientists, are among those backing the letter.
Among those who have signed the letter are 85 scientists based in Irish third-level institutions, including TCD, UCD, DCU, DIT, UCC, NUIG, NUIM, UL and GMIT. Organised by the US-based Future of Life Institute, the signatories state that " scientists bear a special responsibility for nuclear weapons, since it was scientists who invented them and discovered that their effects are even more horrific than first thought.”
Ireland has long been a strong supporter of nuclear disarmament, and was one of the sponsors of the resolution which paved the way for the current negotiations. Irish ambassador to the UN, David O’Donoghue, will co-host a special side event with the Future of Life Institute on Tuesday evening.
The letter was presented to the chair of the negotiations, Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez of Costa Rica, at a ceremony at the United Nations Assembly Hall at 1.00 p.m. (New York time) on Monday.
Commenting on his support for the negotiations, neuroscience professor Edvard Moser from Norway, 2014 Nobel Laureate in Physiology/Medicine, said, “Nuclear weapons represent one of the biggest threats to our civilization. With the unpredictability of the current world situation, it is more important than ever to get negotiations about a ban on nuclear weapons on track, and to make these negotiations a truly global effort.”