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Andrew Brown

Andrew Brown

Associate, Project on Managing the Atom




Andrew Brown was born in London and educated in England. For nearly thirty years, he has worked as physician — in training jobs as an oncologist in London then as a consultant (attending). He spent 1986–1987 as a clinical fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston, and in 1990 came with his family to live in Massachusetts. His wife is now Chief of the Pain Service at MGH, and their three sons have left home. For the past fifteen years, he has been a partner in Radiation Oncology Associates (NH), treating cancer patients.  Two years spent as the medical director for the National Radiological Protection Board in the UK gave him experience in radiation protection. He has developed an interest in the 20th century history of science (especially the Cambridge University schools of physics and molecular biology). This has led to a number of lectures and publications, including two biographies of important Cambridge scientists. The biographies, The Neutron and the Bomb: a Biography of Sir James Chadwick (1997) and J. D. Bernal: the Sage of Science (2005) were both published by Oxford University Press. Writing these books has led him to examine the influence of scientists on political leaders.  He listens to music and plays golf erratically.



By Date



February 2012

Keeper of the Nuclear Conscience: The Life and Work of Joseph Rotblat


By Andrew Brown, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Andrew Brown's biography sets out a life whose work poses deep and important questions about science and society. This compelling account draws on full access to Rotblat's archives and presents the full scope of his life: his childhood overcoming poverty and anti-Semitism, his efforts to become a scientist in Warsaw, his work on Britain's nuclear programme, his lifelong dedication to peaceful causes, and his determination to uphold the ethical application of science. Ultimately, we discover a great man whose profound conscience shaped his life and work, and the legacy he leaves today.



September 2010

"The Quirks of Nuclear Deterrence"

Journal Article, International Relations, issue 3, volume 24

By Andrew Brown, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom and Lorna Arnold

The US relised on atomic bombs as the essential counter to conventional Soviet forces. The USSR constructed its own bombs in turn, and for decades the analysis of nuclear deterrence was almost exclusively concerned with the two superpowers. In the twenty-first century, the nuclear world no longer displays that mirror-image symmetry and can now be viewed as unipolar, regional, multipolar or stateless. Nuclear deterrence that seemed such an established technical reality during the Cold War should be recognized as a psychological construct that depends on threat perception and cultural attitudes, as well as the values, rationality and strength of political leaders who themselves have to mediate between groups with vested economic or military interests. Brown and Arnold argue that nuclear deterrence is meaningless against extremist terrorists. Our survey of its quirks leads us to believe that nuclear deterrence is a far less foolproof and reliable global security mechanism than many assume.



AP Photo

December 15, 2009

"Rooting for Arms Control"

Op-Ed, The Providence Journal, Letter to the Editor

By Andrew Brown, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

"Dwight Eisenhower was the first Republican to recognize that the achievement of an international system to restrain the proliferation of nuclear weapons would be well worth a minor abrogation of national sovereignty. It is to be hoped that the necessary handful of Republican senators will endorse the collective wisdom of predecessors Root, Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and join their Democratic colleagues in supporting START renewal and ratification of the CTBT."



Los Alamos National Laboratory

April 2009

"The Viennese Connection: Engelbert Broda, Alan Nunn May and Atomic Espionage"

Journal Article, Intelligence and National Security, issue 2, volume 24

By Andrew Brown, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Recently declassified materials have revealed the existence of a previously unknown network of Austrian communists in pre-war England. The group of young well-educated Viennese used unsuspecting social contacts and marriages of convenience to establish itself. Analysis of this network reveals some previously overlooked similarities between the 'Cambridge' spies Kim Philby and Alan Nunn May, as well as the emergence of a new nuclear spy, Engelbert Broda. Their wartime espionage as individuals took place at a time when non-communist British scientists were promoting the international sharing of atomic knowledge through unofficial channels. The newly released files reflect a characteristic preference of the British secret services for intelligence gathering rather than intervention and illustrate how vital leads follow from apparently trivial observations.



August 28, 2008

"Historic Barriers to Anglo-American Nuclear Cooperation"

Book Chapter

By Andrew Brown, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Andrew Brown's chapter, "Historic Barriers to Anglo-American Nuclear Cooperation," has been published in the recent book US-UK Nuclear Cooperation After 50 Years. The book is a joint publication from CSIS and Chatham House London examining the impact of the 1958 Mutual Defense Agreement and its consequences.



December 2007

"Book Review: 'Avoid Boring People' by James D. Watson"

Journal Article, Nature Physics, issue 12, volume 3

By Andrew Brown, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Andrew Brown reviewed James D. Watson's latest book Avoid Boring People: Lessons from a Life In Science. Dr. Watson dedicated the book to Paul Doty, the Founder and Director Emeritus of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.



April 2007

J.D. Bernal: The Sage of Science


By Andrew Brown, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

J.D. Bernal, known as "Sage," was an extraordinary man and multifaceted character. A scientist of dazzling intellectual ability and a leading figure in the development of X-ray crystallography, he was a polymath, a fervent Marxist, and much admired worldwide.

Read "A Flawed Genius" — Sebastian Faulks' review for The Spectator.



February 2, 2007

"Moonshine, Manhattan, Maud, Monte Bello: British Scientists and Nuclear Policy"


By Andrew Brown, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

After reviewing the advances in nuclear physics made at Rutherford's Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, Brown examined the profound influence that British scientists had on the inception of the Manhattan project, especially through the Frisch-Peierls Memorandum and the Maud Report. During the 18 month hiatus between these two documents, the concept of an atomic bomb changed from a weapon of deterrence into an offensive war-winning weapon. After 1945, various Anglo-American agreements were vitiated, and the British secretly started work on an independent weapon project (at a time of extreme economic hardship and food rationing). Brown contrasted the roles of leading scientists on opposite sides of this debate — James Chadwick as a trusted government adviser and Patrick Blackett as an early critic of nuclear weapons.



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