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From the Director

Belfer Center Director Graham Allison

From the Director

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Spring 2012

Author: Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School


As time passes since Paul Doty’s death, we begin to move beyond our grief to a deeper appreciation of all the ways Paul’s work lives on. Nowhere is this legacy more vividly alive than at Harvard in the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, of which he was the founding member.

One of the gratifying aspects of the tributes to Paul has been the degree to which his achievements as a world-class scientist earned equal billing with his better-known work as a tireless advocate for nuclear security and arms control. His decades of work toward détente and arms control with Soviet counterparts won him just fame, recognized by the Nobel Peace Prize for the Pugwash group that he helped establish and lead.

But his first love was science. The biochemistry laboratory that he built at Harvard, and the star scientists and fellows he recruited – not least James Watson of Watson and Crick fame, changed our understanding of the world. The photos that emerged after Paul’s death showing him happily at work in the lab are reminders of his scientific genius.

Paul was a serial institution builder. Supported by McGeorge Bundy and the Ford Foundation, Paul created the Program on Science and International Affairs at Harvard in late 1973. Renamed the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in 1995, the institution thrives, and Paul remained a proud participant in the life of the Center until his death. In January, we were judged the best university-affiliated think tank in the world in an annual survey of research centers conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s International Relations Program. That survey measures not just scholarly output but also engagement with the policy world – just what Paul sought when he founded the center.

Paul’s impact also lives on in the three peer-reviewed journals he created. Two of them flowed from his scientific expertise, the Journal of Polymer Science and the Journal of Molecular Biology. The third, International Security, is edited here in the Belfer Center by Sean Lynn-Jones and Diane McCree, under International Security Program Director Steve Miller.

The IS quarterly is a great example of Paul’s foresight and intellectual courage. I was among the original skeptics, worried that one more journal on international security could not survive. But Paul was determined to help shape global security thinking. Thirty-six years on, that journal is consistently ranked first- or second-most cited among all international relations journals.

In the current issue, an article by International Security Program fellow Michael Beckley has recast the debate on American primacy. Another piece by Yale's Nuno Monteiro has stirred the scholarly and policy blogosphere, arguing that a unipolar, U.S.-dominated world is a recipe for conflict rather than peace.

Paul cherished robust policy debates, especially disagreements, from his days fomenting dialogue with Soviet scientists on the nuclear arms race. I cannot think of a more appropriate tribute to him than for all of us to work even harder to extend the reach and impact of his Center in this global arena.


For more information about this publication please contact the Belfer Center Communications Office at 617-495-9858.

For Academic Citation:

Allison, Graham. "From the Director." Belfer Center Newsletter, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, Spring 2012.

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