The Atoms for Peace Project [abstract]
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Following the end of World War II, President Eisenhower reflected upon the nuclear weapons which helped end the war in Japan. Shaken by the raw destructive power he saw there, he gave a speech to the UN General Assembly on the importance of “Atoms for Peace.” He believed that nuclear weapons were no guarantee of safety. His goal was to “to find a way by which the minds of men, the hopes of men, the souls of men everywhere, can move forward towards peace and happiness and well-being,” and to use nuclear technology for non-warfare applications, such as power plants. In a post-911 world, mounting concerns about terrorists and rogue nations have rekindled our concerns regarding nuclear technologies. With nuclear weapons unaccounted for, radioactive waste mounting, and an impending energy crisis, increasing pressure is being applied on governments to act. People everywhere seem to be pondering the same question: Can our species handle the power and responsibility of nuclear science or are we destined to turn innocent atoms towards our own annihilation? To address this question, this researcher has investigated the 20th century history of and current topics in nuclear chemistry. At this stage in history it seems impossible to determine what the future holds, but this researcher has determined that humanity has the ability and desire to use radioactive atoms for peace as evident in the development of non-violent applications. Among these new advances made since President Eisenhower's 1953 speech are: radioimmunoassay, medical imaging, and therapy applications.