If You Love This Planet, Dr. Helen Caldicott

Professor Hugh Gusterson on the psychology of nuclear weapons designers, and U.S. nuclear hypocrisy

Photo Credit: Department of Energy (courtesy Natural Resources Defense Council)

In this fascinating conversation, respected anthropologist, author and lecturer Professor Hugh Gusterson from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology delves into the psychology of nuclear weapons scientists and designers. Drawing on his extensive field research at U.S. weapons laboratories Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos, Prof. Gusterson discusses with Dr. Caldicott the moral and emotional approach of the weapons designers; the terminology used among the scientists which is not only thick with metaphors of birth and fertility, but also denies death (weapons victims would be “carbonized,” not incinerated); and the present recruitment by the Department of Energy of anthropologists to be involved in counterinsurgency. His books include Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War, People of the Bomb: Portraits of America’s Nuclear Complex and Why America’s Top Pundits are Wrong.

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