Scientists Criticize Weapons Research At CFIA Seminar

Members of Scientists Against War Research yesterday picketed the Center for International Affairs where a prominent weapons developer was speaking on the military uses of lasers.

The three demonstrators distributed leaflets recounting the history of the weapons research done by the speaker, Richard L. Garwin, visting professor at the Program for Science and International Affairs.

They carried signs saying "Richard Garwin: Weapons Addict" and "Richard Garwin: Quit Jason."

Garwin is a member of the Jason Division of the Institute for Defense Analysis, a group of about forty scientists who are military consultants for the Department of Defense.

Jason helped develop the electronic battlefield system, laser-guided bombs, and other weapons systems used in the Vietnam War.


David P. Seigel, a second-year graduate student in chemistry, called the demonstration a "non-disruptive vigil."

When Garwin began his speech, Seigel entered the CFIA building and stood silently holding a sign at the front of the lecture room.


Albert Carnesale, associate director of PSIA, asked Seigel to remove his sign before Garwin's speech began, saying it was "distracting." Seigel refused, but Carnesale took no further action.

In a discussion period following the speech, Seigel asked Garwin, "How do you rationalize the commitment of your life to the misuse of science and finding better ways of killing people?"

"I don't think finding ways of killing people is necessarily bad for society," Garwin responded.

Seigel said the protest was "part of an increased awareness of the Jason Division and protests directed against it."

He added that Scientists and Engineers for Political and Social Action, a group similar to Scientists Against War Research, has organized similar protests against Jason at Princeton, Berkeley, and Columbia.

Seigel was arrested for disorderly conduct September 27 during a demonstration against war research at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratories at MIT. Charges against him in connection with the incident were recently dropped