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History of the Summer Symposiums

1989 Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
1990 Princeton University
1991 Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
1992 Fudan University, Shanghai
1993 MIT, Boston
1994 Oberwesel, Germany
1995 Kiev, Ukraine
1996 Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics
1997 Cornell University
1998 MIT, Boston
1999 Fudan University, Shanghai
2000 Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
2001 European Academy Berlin, Germany
2002 University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
2003 Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
2004 Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
2005 Princeton University
2006 Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy
2007 Oslo, Norway
2008 Boston, Massachusetts
2009 Fudan University, Shanghai
2010 Hamburg, Germany
2011 London, England
2012 Princeton University

The first Summer Symposium grew out of discussions between the US physicist Frank von Hippel and the Soviet physicist Roald Sagdaev about the lack of a younger generation of Russian scientists knowledgeable about arms control issues. This meeting was held for ten days in September 1989 and focused on international security and arms control issues. It was organized by a group of students and faculty at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MPTI), an elite Soviet technical university. The participants were primarily Soviets and Americans, with smaller delegations from Britain and China. This meeting led to the establishment of the Center for Arms Control, Energy, and Environmental Studies at MPTI. This Center is the only university-based program in Russia for teaching and research on technically-related policy issues in the arms control, energy, and environmental fields.

The second Summer Symposium was hosted by the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies at Princeton University in August 1990. At the request of the Russians, the program was expanded to include energy and environmental issues. In addition, the participants included several researchers from developing countries. Unlike the first meeting, which was organized primarily around lectures by senior participants, this meeting introduced the format used since that time in which all participants were expected to give presentations on their research. The third Summer Symposium, hosted by the newly established Center for Arms Control, Energy, and Environmental Studies at MPTI, was similar in format to the second, and was held in June and July of 1991.

There were small Chinese delegations at each of the first three Summer Symposiums and, in August 1991, the Chinese participants offered to host the next meeting in China. A meeting in China was seen as a valuable opportunity to establish contacts with a potential new generation of Chinese public interest scientists, and the 1992 Summer Symposium was held in Shanghai, hosted by the Center for American Studies (CAS) at Fudan University. Beginning with this Symposium, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) took on a primary role in helping to raise funds and organize the Symposiums.

The fifth Summer Symposium was held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in July 1993, and was jointly hosted by MIT's Center for International Studies and UCS. More than 60 researchers, roughly evenly divided between the arms control and energy/environmental fields, took part in the meeting. As in the previous meetings, the arms control group was composed primarily of researchers from the US, Russia and China. However, the scope of the meeting was broadened by bringing in researchers from India, Pakistan, Ukraine, and Japan. In addition, a number of German researchers were invited in an effort to build connections with the relatively well-established network of arms control researchers in that country.

The enthusiasm of the German participants at the 1993 meeting led to the sixth Summer Symposium being held in Oberwesel, Germany in July 1994. It was co-sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Science, Technology and Security (IANUS) at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany. With this Symposium, the focus returned to arms control and security issues and did not include researchers on energy or environmental issues. This change was made for several reasons. The large size of the combined group made logistical arrangements increasingly difficult. Moreover, the growing size of the meeting made it difficult to increase the number of participants in the arms control section, which was necessary to include scientists from additional countries. Since this meeting, the Symposiums have included roughly 40 participants.

The seventh Summer Symposium was held in 1995 in Kiev, Ukraine. The local organizer was Sergey Yatskevitch, a Ukrainian physicist who had attended two of the previous meetings. The 1996 Summer Symposium was held in Beijing, China, hosted by the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, with the objective of broadening contacts between the international technical community and the growing Chinese community of researchers interested in arms control and security issues. It also played an important function of helping to create a community of the Chinese researchers, most of whom were unaware of others working on similar issues.

The 1997 Summer Symposium was held at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, hosted by the Peace Studies Program and the physics department. This Symposium included for the first time the participation of scientists from Russian weapons laboratories.

The 1998 Symposium was held at MIT and was co-sponsored by UCS and the MIT Security Studies Program. This meeting included the first Iranian participant.

The 1999 Symposium was held at Fudan University in Shanghai and was hosted by the Center for American Studies at Fudan University.

The 2000 Symposium was again hosted by the MPTI Center for Arms Control Studies in Moscow.

In 2001 the Symposium returned to Germany, with the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Science, Technology and Security (IANUS) at the Technical University of Darmstadt and the Radioactivity Measurements Lab, Department of Physics, at the University of Bremen as co-hosts. The meeting itself took place at the European Academy Berlin.

In 2002 the Symposium was hosted by the Program on Arms Control, Disarmament, and International Security at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The 2003 Symposium was co-sponsored by the Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology (MIPT, formerly known as MPTI) Center for Arms Control, Energy, and Environmental Studies. 

The 2004 Symposium co-sponsored by the Arms Control Program, Institute of International Studies of Tsinghua University.  The meeting was held at a hotel adjacent to the University campus.

The 2005 Symposium was co-sponsored by Princeton University's Program on Science and Global Security.

The 2006 Symposium was hosted by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy.  

The 2007 Symposium in Norway was co-organized with colleagues from the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority.  It was held at the Sundvolden Hotel, in the countryside north of Oslo.

The 2008 Symposium was preceded by a one-day conference on Science and Global Security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Symposium was held at the Walker Center in Newton, Massachusetts.

The 2009 Symposium was held at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and co-sponsored by the Center for American Studies.

The 2010 Symposium was held in Hamburg, Germany and co-hosted by the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg and held at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) Research Center.

The 2011 Symposium was held in London, England and co-hosted by the Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS) of the Department of War Studies at King's College London.

The 2012 Symposium was held at Princeton University and co-hosted by the Program on Science and Global Security of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

As a result of these meetings, some two dozen scientists from Russia, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea, and Iran have spent or are currently spending time as research fellows in the United States.