Natural Sciences and Peace Research

Natural Sciences and Peace Research

Summit of the UN Security Council on Nuclear Disarmament, New York, 2009. Image: UN Photo/Mark Garten
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Summit of the UN Security Council on Nuclear Disarmament, New York, 2009. Image: UN Photo/Mark Garten

In Germany, natural-science-based Peace Research has a name and a place: IANUS, the interdisciplinary working group on Natural Sciences, Technology and Security, founded at TU Darmstadt in 1988.

Politicians and the media in Germany and abroad call on IANUS’ expertise when faced with issues such as ambivalent civilian/military technologies, the disposal of plutonium stockpiles, armaments control or monitoring the Biological Weapons Convention. Just how much IANUS is appreciated became obvious in 200, when it won the Göttinger Friedenspreis (Göttingen Peace Prize), awarded by the Roland Röhl Foundation.

A new field is Technology Assessment, which examines, for example, the potential role of advanced nuclear technology or the impact of modern biotechnology. IANUS analyses the ambivalences of scientific and technological progress and the impact of research and technology on conflict constellations. It then elaborates recommendations for appropriate ways of benefiting from these technologies while upholding the principles of peace, justice, sustainability and responsibility.