My O'Sullivan Memorial Lecture on nuclear technology is now online

Back in November, I wasn’t sure if anyone would mind that I used Wikileaks for historical research.  Some might have called it unpatriotic.  But I should have expected that no one seemed to mind (or care?).  I did it because I was about to give a lecture on the promotion of nuclear technology, and found that typing in “IAEA” into the keyword-searchable databases of Wikileaks yielded some interesting results.  It was like being a fly on the wall for discussions among people who were dealing with the decades-long legacy of America’s attempt to promote nuclear technology in the developing world.  It was perfect material with which to open a lecture.  And since that also will be the subject of my next book project (after Arming Mother Nature comes out, of course), how could I resist using it?

My concerns proved unwarranted, at least thus far.  I mention my trepidation because, before boarding my flight back in November, I received an email warning me to think carefully about whether I wanted to bring radioactive materials to Florida from Oregon.  (note to careful readers: I did not do any such thing).  The person had heard about my upcoming lecture and had begun to panic about my starting cancer in the local population.  (again: I did nothing of the kind).

I was getting on a plane all right, but with far less interesting carry-ons, unless you count my iPad.

The truth was that I was invited in November to give the annual John O’Sullivan Memorial Lecture, in Boca Raton Florida, hosted by the Department of History at Florida Atlantic University.  I enjoyed every moment I was there.  I met so many wonderful folks that it was hard to leave, and I learned a great deal about the research interests of the faculty member for whom the lecture is named.  It was a privilege to meet John O’Sullivan’s wife and grown son.  John O’Sullivan clearly left his mark on the community, and I was honored to be a part of it by giving the memorial lecture.

My lecture was titled “The Nuclear Promise: Global Consequences of an American Dream.”

I mention all this because Florida Atlantic University has published my lecture as a PDF pamphlet.  It contains information about the lecture series, about O’Sullivan, and of course my lecture.  Enjoy!


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