‘Each added amount of radiation causes damage to the health of human beings all over the world and causes damage to the pool of human germ plasm such as to lead to an increase in the number of seriously defective children that will be born in future generations…
‘We have in common with our fellow men a deep concern for the welfare of all human beings. As scientists we have knowledge of the dangers involved and therefore a special responsibility to make those dangers known. We deem it imperative that immediate action be taken to effect an international agreement to stop testing of all nuclear weapons.’
On this day in 1957, chemist Linus Pauling and biologist Barry Commoner began a petition drive calling for the ‘ultimate effective abolition of nuclear weapons’. By 1958 when it was presented at the United Nations it had been signed by over 11000 scientists.
Though falling far short of what they’d hoped, a Partial Test Ban Treaty was achieved in 1963, banning nuclear testing in the atmosphere, the oceans and outer space, but still allowing testing to continue underground.