Jeffrey LewisNonpro Talk, Wednesday @ Wilson Center

Wouldn’t it be spectacular if we promoted nonproliferation talks the way we promote Monster Truck Rallies, Metal concerts and the other staples of my Midwestern upbringing?





Yeah, well.

Houston Wood is giving a talk at the Woodrow Wilson Center tomorrow on the role of gas centrifuges in nonproliferation. Which, to my mind, is even more exciting than when Metallica opened for Ozzy Osbourne at the Peoria Civic Center. (YouTube is really letting me down, here.)

And, the event is free, so you won’t feel bad about only using the edge of your seat.

The History of the Gas Centrifuge and Its Role in Nuclear Proliferation

January 20 2010, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Uranium enrichment capability and its proliferation are among the most important issues for arms control specialists today. Thanks in part to the network of Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan, the gas centrifuge has become one of the most widely used uranium enrichment tools in the world. University of Virginia Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Houston G. Wood will discuss his ongoing research on the history of the gas centrifuge and its role in nuclear proliferation. Joining him will be David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, and *Jeffrey Lewi director of the Nuclear Strategy and Nonproliferation Initiative at the New America Foundation.

Houston Wood is professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Virginia. His areas of expertise include centrifugation, nuclear non-proliferation and heart pumps. He has published more than 100 articles in books, journals, conference proceedings and reports. Before joining the UVA faculty, he worked as a development engineer (1967-1973) at Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant (ORGDP) in the area of uranium enrichment, and then as the manager of the centrifuge physics department (1977-1981). Wood earned his B.A. and M.S. degrees in mathematics from Mississippi State University, and his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of Virginia.

David Albright is president of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) in Washington, D.C. Prior to founding ISIS, he worked as a senior staff scientist at the Federation of American Scientists and as a member of the research staff of Princeton University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Studies. Albright has many publications, and received a 1992 Olive Branch Award for a series of articles he wrote, along with Mark Hibbs, on the Iraqi nuclear weapons program for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Albright cooperated actively with the IAEA Action Team from 1992 until 1997, focusing on analyses of Iraqi documents and past procurement activities, and was the first non-governmental inspector of the Iraqi nuclear program in June 1996. Albright holds a Masters of Science in physics from Indiana University and a Masters of Science in mathematics from Wright State University.

Jeffrey Lewis is director of the Nuclear Strategy and Nonproliferation Initiative at the New America Foundation as well as a research scholar at the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy (CSSIM). He is the author of Minimum Means of Reprisal: China’s Search for Security in the Nuclear Age, and founded and maintains the leading blog on nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, Before joining the New America Foundation, Lewis was executive director of the Managing the Atom Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Lewis earned his Ph.D. in Policy Studies (International Security and Economic Policy) from the University of Maryland and his B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.

I will be making comments along the lines of those in my Bulletin article, A Crisis of Confidence, in which I argued the rapid diffusion of gas centrifuge technology has resulted in a self defeating panic about the future of the nonproliferation regime.


  1. Oliver

    “ rapid diffusion of gas centrifuge technology “

    What a nice pun 🙂

  2. Pete (History)

    You forgot the nicknames. I propose Jeffrey “THE BLOGANATOR” Lewis.

  3. Matthew Hoey (History)



    I will have to incorporate it into my daily lingo : )

  4. nick (History)

    Some of the comments about Zippe were very interesting and I thought your comment on USG only focusing on reprocessing where they should have kept a closer look at gas centrifuges was dead on. Would have been nice if some discussions on the origins of Brazilian and Japanese designs were also included.

  5. Andrew Tubbiolo (History)

    Bread and circus for the nuclear age. Have a cross between a Soviet style parade and a monster truck rally with all the decommissioned mobile IRBM’s and ICBM’s. Honest Johns, Davy Crockett, and of course the MONSTER MIRV’ed Pioneer. With the Pioneer, you could pulse the engines and throw fireballs over the arena. Have a lottery for the kids to launch against some unsuspecting noncombatants. End the show with a fallout dump on the exiting crowd. Fun for the whole family!

  6. mark hibbs

    Nick: I’ve written some stuff on the Brazilian and Japanese designs. If you search Nexus/Lexus you’ll find it.