Annie Jacobsen at the Cambridge Public Library


Nuclear War: A Scenario

in conversation with DR. THEODORE A. POSTOL


March 26, 2024
6:00 PM ET


Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138


$0.00 (Free RSVP Required) $31.88 (book included)

Harvard Book Store welcomes ANNIE JACOBSEN—New York Times bestselling author of Area 51 and Operation Paperclip—for a discussion of her new book Nuclear War: A Scenario.She will be joined in conversation by DR. THEODORE A. POSTOL—Professor of Science, Technology and National Security Policy in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. 


RSVP for free to this event or choose the "Book-Included" ticket to reserve a copy of Nuclear War and pick it up at the event. Annie will sign copies of her new book after the presentation.


About Nuclear War: A Scenario

Every generation, a journalist has looked deep into the heart of the nuclear military establishment: the technologies, the safeguards, the plans, and the risks. These projects are vital to how we understand the world we really live in: where one nuclear missile begets one in return; where the choreography of the world’s end requires massive decisions made on seconds-notice, with information that is only as good as the intelligence we have.

Annie Jacobsen’s Nuclear War: A Scenario explores this ticking clock scenario, based on dozens of new interviews with military and civilian experts who have built the weapons; created the response plans; and been responsible for those decisions should they need to have been made. Nuclear War: A Scenario is unlike any other book in its depth and urgency.

Masking Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Annie Jacobsen
Annie Jacobsen

Annie Jacobsen

Annie Jacobsen is the author of the Pulitzer Prize–finalist in history The Pentagon’s Brain, the New York Times bestsellers Area 51 and Operation Paperclip, and other books. She was a contributing editor at the Los Angeles Times Magazine. A graduate of Princeton University, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons. Jacobsen’s books have been named Best of the Year and Most Anticipated by outlets including The Washington Post, USA Today, The Boston Globe, and Apple.

Photo credit: Hilary Jones

Dr. Theodore A. Postol
Dr. Theodore A. Postol

Dr. Theodore A. Postol

Dr. Theodore A. Postol is Professor of Science, Technology and National Security Policy in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. He did his undergraduate work in Physics and his graduate work in Nuclear Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After receiving his PhD, Dr. Postol joined the staff of Argonne National Laboratory, where he studied the microscopic dynamics and structure of liquids and disordered solids using neutron, x-ray and light scattering, along with computer molecular dynamics techniques. Subsequently he went to the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment to study methods of basing the MX Missile, and later worked as a scientific adviser to the Chief of Naval Operations. His work for the Chief related to strategic submarine and anti-submarine warfare, targeting of US nuclear weapons, Soviet ballistic missile defense systems, US anti- ballistic missile defense countermeasure systems for the Trident II ballistic missile, and other matters related to strategic nuclear technologies and policies. He also acted as a key technical and policy advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations on matters related to national decision-making by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After leaving the Pentagon, Dr. Postol helped to build a program at Stanford University to train mid-career scientists about how to analyze developments in weapons technology of relevance to defense and arms control policy.  He left Stanford in 1989 to take his post as Professor of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy at MIT in 1989.

In 1990 Dr. Postol received the American Physical Society's Leo Szilard Award for "incisive technical analysis of national security issues that [have] been vital for informing the public policy debate..." He is also the recipient of the 1995 Hilliard Roderick Prize in Science, Arms Control, and International Security from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for "outstanding contributions that advance our understanding of issues related to arms control and international security ... that have important scientific or technical dimensions." During the award presentation by the AAAS he was described as "by-far the strongest, technically-trained, independent arms control analyst of his generation." He was also cited for work that "has become well known and highly valued for its rigor, honesty, and attention to detail," and for having been "a key player in educating a whole generation of independent arms control policy analysts." The AAAS also noted that he "has repeatedly presented accurate, but at times, unpopular analysis to the international security and arms control community." In 2001 he received the Nobert Wiener Award from Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility for uncovering numerous and important false claims about missile defenses. In 2003 he won the Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage. In 2005 the German Federation of Scientists honored him at their conference, Thinking with Einstein, (Berlin, Germany) for Whistleblowing in Support of Free Discourse in Science and in 2016 he was awarded the Richard L. Garwin Award by the Federation of American Scientists … for his work in assessing and critiquing the government’s claims about missile defense. The Committee for the Republic awarded him its Defender of Liberty Award in 2015 for alerting the US to false claims about the capabilities of US missile defenses that could have serious implications for the defense of the United States and its friends and allies.

Dr. Postol is a member of the New York Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the board of The Committee for the Republic.  The Committee’s goal is aimed at promoting the reestablishment of the past roles of both Congress and the President to comply with the Constitution’s original allocation of war powers—especially the exclusive responsibility of Congress for making decisions that change the condition of the nation from peace to war.

He has also been an editor for the Harvard-based journal International Security.  On October 15, 2019 he resigned after 30 years on the editorial board of the Princeton-based journal, Science and Global Security , when he discovered the journal editors were secretly using a politically motivated and technically unqualified referee to determine whether technical articles were to be published. 



Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138

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