Physics and Nuclear Disarmament

Inaugural Lecture by Malte Göttsche at TU Darmstadt

Malte Göttsche

Malte Göttsche, Photo: PRIF

With the Russian in­vasion of Ukraine, the threat of nu­clear weapons use has re-emerged in the public debate. Today, there exist over 12,000 nuclear weapons glo­bally, and large fissile mate­rial stocks allowing the pro­duction of many more. While the war and the poli­tical climate will not allow dis­armament initiatives in the fore­seeable future, the public debate has triggered a new sense of urgency.

Physi­cists have an impor­tant role: To enable inter­national agree­ments on warhead and fissile material reductions, strong veri­fication protocols are essential to monitor com­pliance. New con­cepts and tech­niques will be required and must be available should a poli­tical window of oppor­tunity open in the longer term. As they can take many years to develop, con­tinuing this work remains crucial today.

In this lecture, elements of a possible veri­fication toolbox will be presented. Among them are radiation de­tection tech­niques to establish the authen­ticity of nuclear war­heads to be dismantled. Further­more, nuclear archaeo­logy is introduced as a tool­box to estimate weapons-usable fissile mate­rials inventories based on recon­structing their past production using forensic measure­ments and com­putational science.

When: June 28, 2024, 2–3:30 p.m.

Where: ZKS-Uhr­turmhörsaal S2|08, Raum 171, Hoch­schulstraße 4, 64289 Darm­stadt

Further information can be found on the website of TU Darmstadt.