Carnegie Corporation, MacArthur Foundation Award $500,000 to Stevens to Raise Nuclear Terrorism Awareness for Public Education

Stevens professors Kristyn Karl, Julie Pullen and Alex Wellerstein

The Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded a trio of Stevens Institute of Technology faculty researchers $500,000 to broadly assess and redefine U.S. civil defense, studying how to communicate the latest science and technology to educate the public about the threat of nuclear terrorism — as well as what measures to take if a nuclear event occurs.

Stevens is one of 11 organizations — representing university research centers, think tanks, and other organizations from the United States and across the globe — to receive funds. These grants, totaling $4.4 million, will support projects aimed at reducing nuclear risk through innovative and solutions-orientated approaches.

College of Arts and Letters professors Alex Wellerstein and Kristyn Karl and School of Engineering & Science professor Julie Pullen will rely upon an unusually diverse advisory board of defense, academic, technology and artistic professionals to seed sub-projects including ideas for public education campaigns, VR simulations, games, apps and other communications. They will also host two conferences devoted to analyzing the results of those projects.

The inspiration for the new project, says the researchers, was a growing sense that current generations may not fully appreciate the threat of nuclear terrorism in cities such as New York.

While the United States maintained active federal civil defense programs during much of the Cold War, those were discontinued after criticism they were useless in the face of growing nuclear arsenals. Today, however, interest is reviving in those planning approaches as rogue-state nuclear weapons become…

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