The goal of our course and workshop is to understand what our nuclear future could be, to challenge students to find better ways to a better world and to find new paths to world peace. Students and workshop participants will quickly understand why this is so imperative. “Ways to Peace” is the last chapter of our textbook, All Things Nuclear by former Manhattan Project chemist, James C. Warf. Through it we explore some new and innovative solutions for a world deeply troubled by wars and terrorism. This writer, R. G. Wilson, wrote half of that chapter. We supplement this with our colleague Naomi Shohno’s The Legacy of Hiroshima; the last chapter of which asks “What Can We Do for Peace?”
It is rare to find in American universities and schools courses which treat in such detail the realities of the nuclear war experiences of the people of Japan, the present nuclear threat for all nations, and an exploration of realistic approaches to achieving a peaceful, fair, and just world. Still more rare is to find these topics in a physics workshop. Because of this rarity we believe that students who complete our course may be more knowledgeable about these issues than many national leaders and legislators who formulate national policies. (Some thoughtful students have commented that Physics 239 should be required of all IWU students.)
The pilot 2002 Workshop announcement, found on the Internet at http://titan.iwu.edu/~physics/Hiroshima/ includes an outline/description of Physics 239. We believe The Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation will find it informative. It is exactly this outline that the workshop will follow with the distinct advantage of discussion among advanced peer scholars of physics, people who can grasp the magnitude of the world’s nuclear and related problems.
Choosing to attend our workshop, participants will be expecting to encounter “hands-on” experiences. The following paragraphs will clearly illustrate that for workshop participants it will be, hands-on, eyes and ears-on, and senses-on. We will virtually escort participants through the human and physical debris of A-Bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and briefly through some non-nuclear devastation in the very less-developed world; all this is symptomatic of a troubled and perhaps sick world.
There are moral and ethical questions which arise in Physics 239 and we are sure they will arise among workshop participants; it becomes part of the hands-on struggle with ideas about security in today’s world.
Understanding what happens to a city under a nuclear explosion, students and workshop participants will virtually “survive” the Hiroshima and Nagasaki explosions, for a short time. Through Japanese film, Black Rain (Kuroi ame), Barefoot Gen (Hadashi no Gen), Prophecy, and A Mother’s Prayer, they will see and learn of the deadly scourgings of nuclear weapons. Through exercises that we have created, students and workshop participants “walk” the lanes and alleys of these two cities experiencing the human debris as well as the physical. They listen as survivors relate their testimonies. They learn about Dr. Kaoru Shima, whose hospital was the hypocenter in Hiroshima; about hibakusha who survived for years afterward; and about lessons that the world should have learned from the Japanese experiences.
Through the films, Radio Bikini and Half Life, they will see and hear the people of Bikini and Rongelap relate their experiences with the nuclear devastation of their formerly pristine islands, and where on Rongelap the radioactive fallout accumulated centimeters thick before the evacuation. They will see, through the film Nuclear War: A Guide to Armageddon (BBC) the results of a 1.0 Megaton nuclear attack on London. Workshop participants will encounter the dreadful results to humans of Soviet nuclear testing in Kazakhstan and American testing in Nevada. And they will determine in detail what would happen to their own hometown in the event of a nuclear attack. Much of this will be not known by workshop participants. It is understandable why Shohno used the title, “The Legacy of Hiroshima.”
Workshop announcements, for our pilot workshop in 2002 have been placed in the two international journals of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), and in physics teachers’ “listservs.” We have already notified The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and several other organizations which promote peace education.