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Origins Project Dialogue to discuss the nuclear threat

Feb. 16 event to feature former U.S. Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, ASU Origins Project Director Lawrence Krauss

Stepping Back From the Brink flyer
February 13, 2018

In an international environment which some observers have argued is as dangerous as at any time during the Cold War, what do advances in modern warfare mean for national and international security? What challenges does humanity face in today’s nuclear age? How will advances in autonomous weapons change the security landscape? Can there be a limited nuclear engagement?

These are topics that will be addressed by former U.S. Secretary of Defense William J. Perry and Arizona State University Origins Project Director Lawrence Krauss in a discussion of national and international security, nuclear policy, and the challenges of modern warfare in an Origins Project Dialogue, 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

“Origins Dialogue: Stepping back from the brink — a discussion of National Security with William J. Perry” will be a far-ranging, candid and unscripted conversation on foreign policy issues and the threat of nuclear war today and how that threat is manifesting itself in new technologies and new theories of limited nuclear engagement, as well as, possible ways to prevent nuclear warfare.

Perry is one of the world’s leading authorities on U.S. foreign policy, security and defense. He has had distinguished careers in business, government and academia. Following a variety of early senior Defense Department appointments, Perry served as the U.S. Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1997 under President Bill Clinton.

Trained as an engineer and mathematician, Perry holds appointments at Stanford University and is the creator of the William J. Perry Project, which aims to engage the public on the role of nuclear weapons and prevent their further use. His latest book, "My Journey at the Nuclear Brink," will be available for purchase at the event.

“The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists just moved their Doomsday Clock forward to two minutes to midnight, the closest it has been to midnight since 1953, after the U.S. and the Soviet Union both detonated the first thermonuclear weapons,” Krauss said. “Issues from North Korean nuclear developments to new tensions with Russia, and a recent missile false alarm in Hawaii, along with plans for developing a new generation of ‘useable’ nuclear weapons, have once again raised the specter of possible nuclear conflict.”

“There couldn’t be a more important time to talk about these issues, or a better person in the world to discuss them with,” Krauss added. "Secretary Perry’s long career in defense and foreign policy gives him a unique historical perspective, along with remarkable expertise that can help us explore not only the current world situation, but also ways to step back from the brink. It will be a fascinating discussion that anyone who is concerned about the state of the world won’t want to miss.”

Krauss, foundation professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the physics department is a renowned theoretical physicist and public intellectual. A bestselling author, he is also chair of the board of sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which keeps tabs on the nuclear threat with its Doomsday Clock.

Tickets for “Origins Project Dialogue: Stepping back from the brink” are now available online at the Tempe Center for the Arts website and at the Tempe Center for the Arts Box Office, which is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Additional information is available online at the Origins Project website.

ASU students with proper ID can receive tickets at no cost (limited seating) but must be present in person at the Box Office. 

This event will be live streamed for the public at

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