MIT Symposium to Discuss 1945 Atomic Bomb Attacks


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Academics from the United States and Japan will take part in "The Atomic Bombs: Myth, Memory and History," which the Technology and Culture Forum at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will present April 13 as the fifth annual J. Herbert Hollomon Memorial Symposium.

The event will begin at 4pm in Rm. 9-150, 105 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge.

Participants will be Institute Professor Philip Morrison, who was with the Manhattan Project; Dartmouth Professor Martin J. Sherwin, author of an important book on the atomic bomb; Hosei University Professor Rinjiro Sodei, who has written extensively on American and Japanese issues; and MIT Professor John W. Dower, an historian noted for his extensive research of Japan and world War II.

The forum will be moderated by Professor Charles Weiner, an expert on the history of science and technology.

Professor Morrison, a noted physicist, who as a member of the Manhattan Project armed the bomb dropped on Nagasaki 50 years ago this August, will also discuss his postwar opposition to the arms race.

Professor Sherwin, director of Dartmouth College's John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, is the author of A World Destroyed: The Atomic Bomb and the Grand Alliance. The book was runner-up for the 1976 Pulitzer Prize. Professor Sherwin will address the decision to drop the bombs and his participation on the Smithsonian Institution's committee whose plans for a World War II commemorative exhibit drew criticism.

Professor Sodei is a political scientist whose numerous publications include a study of General Douglas MacArthur, the director of the post-World War II occupation of Japan, and a monograph about the Japanese-American victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. He recently published a detailed essay about the Smithsonian exhibit controversy.

Professor Dower's War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War, was hailed as a path-breaking comparative study of the racial and psychological aspects of the war from both Anglo-American and Japanese perspectives. The 1986 book won many awards, including the National Book Critics Circle non-fiction prize, and, in Japan, the Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize for distinguished scholarship on Asia and the Pacific. Dr. Dower, the Henry R Luce Professor In International Cooperation and Global Stability, will reflect on America's difficulty in reconciling the heroic and tragic narratives of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as he speaks to the larger issue of myth, memory and history.

Dr. Hollomon, whom this Technology and Culture Forum symposium commemorates, was widely known for his world role in technology and policy questions. He held leadership positions in academe, industry and the federal government during a career in which he was president of the University of Oklahoma (1968-70), assistant secretary of commerce for science and technology (1962-67), head of GE's General Engineering Laboratory (1960-67), and adjunct professor (1950-62) at RPI.

In the years from 1962-67 he was responsible for the reorganization and restructuring of the US patent system and stimulated US participation in the revision of international patent agreements. He was also responsible for establishing the Institute of Applied Technology, the forerunner of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

In 1970 he returned to MIT where he had received the SB in physics (1940) and the ScD in metallurgy (1946). In 1972 he founded the Center for Policy Alternatives which identified major socio-technical issues and the policies and practices surrounding them. In 1985 the center became part of the Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development.

Professor Hollomon died in 1985 at the age of 66.


Topics: History, Security studies and military, Special events and guest speakers

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