Workshop to Help College Teachers Address Issues of Nuclear War

May 12, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - As the 60th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki approaches, a workshop at Illinois Wesleyan University will again offer resources for teaching about problems of nuclear war at the college level.

The one-week workshop, “Hiroshima and Nagasaki for College Teachers,” led by Emeritus Associate Professor of Physics Raymond Wilson, will be June 27-July 1.

Initially offered solely to physics teachers, the workshop now is open to any teacher interested in planning a general education course dealing with nuclear issues and the legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The workshop supports an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating physics, history, politics, economics and world affairs. According to Wilson, participants have described as a “tremendous boost” in developing similar courses at their home institutions.

Wilson has spent eight summers of study in Hiroshima, and for many years has taught a May Term course at Illinois Wesleyan, “Problems of Nuclear Disarmament.” The course encourages discussion and reflection, addressing the science and technology of nuclear war along with the social, economic, ethical, human, political and international implications of the nuclear weapons policies of nations. Wilson draws on many of the resources from his May Term course in the summer workshop.

Suggested discussion topics include the 30-year classified status of photos of Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims - and whether such information could be withheld in the world of modern communication; whether any world conflicts since WWII would justify the use of nuclear weapons; and if a “Manhattan Project for World Peace” would be possible.

“Our intention is not to reach any consensus, but to inform of the viewpoints and new concepts of world policies that will effect students' lives over the next century,” Wilson writes in a course summary.

While Wilson believes it is rare for college courses to deal with nuclear war and the effects of the WWII bombings, he also believes “college teachers can develop unique understandings and approaches to the problems brought about by contemporary threats to world peace, including nuclear weapons.”

To learn more about the workshop, visit