Park, David, February 23, 1947.
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Department of Physics University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan
23 February 1947
Dear Dr. Einstein:
I enclose a small contribution to help with the work of the Emergency Committee.
I am extremely interested to know what view the Committee takes of present day nuclear research, as am not aware that any of the general or professional organizations have said anything about it. Only a few people like Wiener have declared themselves as individuals, although the question is in every way a public one.
Scientists seem to have been fairly uniform in writing 'Freedom of Thought' on their banners, without worrying very much about what it means. Perhaps 'Freedom from Interference' would have come closer to saying what they meant. Copernicus and Darwin published their work without anticipating that it would profoundly affect the religious ideas of their times, and the physicists of this generation have let their minds run in the direction of enthusiasm, to the detriment of places like Hiroshima. Those physicists who are working on the projects supported by the Armed Forces today seem either to regard the atomic bomb as a defensive weapon, to believe that America heavily armed will guarantee world peace, or to show no mental activity whatever. The last class would be the largest even if one omitted all those who believe that they are working on cheap power for the good of mankind, which suggests that the War Department is about to abandon its historical function in order to become a public utility. I cannot believe that the peaceful control of atomic energy will ever amount to anything if the owners of scientifically trained minds are not made to appear as responsible in the public view as the owners of automobiles. Perhaps the British gentleman's idea that the Hippocratic oath should be required of all scientists is a good one. Doubtless this oath does little to disturb the slumber of the wonderful people who perfect ways of siding with the bacteria against the vertebrates, but the publicity attendant on starting such a practice in other fields might help some to discover that an issue exists, and might conceivably, in the remote future, provide basis for legal prosecution.
At all accounts, I think it is time for some public statement of policy to be made, and this is why I am interested to know the opinion of your authoritative and highly essential organization.
Sincerely yours, David Park
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