Philosophical Society of Washington

The Making of a Soviet Scientist

Roald Sagdeev
Distinguished Professor of Physics, University of Maryland

2028th Meeting Abstract
Friday, April 22, 1994 at 8:15 PM


This lecture provides an insider's view to the Soviet Union's secretive military-industrial complex during the cold war. This time was a period of fierce competition between east and west in nuclear science. However, the scientific community was used to an extraordinary extent to foster the objectives of the Communist Party and the military establishment. Accounts of the corruption and hypocrisy of the Brezhnev era provide a portrait of the era. The impact of this condition on perestroika will be discussed along with details of the most politically sensitive scientific issues—including the nuclear weapons program, SDI, and the exile of Andrei Sakharov to Gorky.

About the Author:

Mr. Sagdeev is a Distinguished Professor of Physics and Director of the East-West Center for Space Science at the University of Maryland. He is a former director of the Soviet Space Research Institute where he led the joint U.S.-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz mission, the Venera series to Venus, and the international missions to Halley's Comet. Mr. Sagdeev also played a major political role during the first five years of perestroika. He was elected to the Supreme Soviet in 1987 and the Congress of Peoples Deputies of the USSR in 1989. He served as an advisor to Gorbachev on issues related to science and space as well as during the summits in Geneva, Washington, and Moscow. Mr. Sagdeev authored the book The Making of a Soviet Scientist on which this lecture is based.

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