Books et al.NUCLEAR HISTORY

Strange bedfellows

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Science  23 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6306, pp. 1372-1373
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah6011

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Summary

In the late 1980s, Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev ushered in a new era of government transparency in the Soviet Union, a move that enabled the country's nuclear scientists to interact with their counterparts in the United States for the first time. Driven at first by curiosity, these interactions took on greater meaning when the Soviet Union fell apart and Russia's economy collapsed in 1991.This two-volume work, published by the Los Alamos Historical Society, is a comprehensive participants' account of the cooperation between U.S. and Russian nuclear-weapons laboratories that began during the Gorbachev period and ended in 2014 after Russia's annexation of Crimea. Siegfried Hecker, who was director of Los Alamos National Laboratory at the beginning of the period of cooperation, edited the work and provides lucid introductory and overview sections. The volumes contain essays by, and interviews with, key leaders who coordinated the efforts on both sides.