LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A book explaining why nuclear weapons programs in many developing nations have been prone to inefficiency and failure has won the 2014 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.
Jacques Hymans, associate professor of international relations at the University of Southern California, earned the prize for his 2012 book “Achieving Nuclear Ambitions: Scientists, Politicians and Proliferation.”
At least half of the nuclear weapons projects launched in developing nations since 1970 have failed and even the successful ones have met with delays. In case studies of nuclear programs in Iraq, China, North Korea and other countries, Hymans learned that arbitrary management by dictatorial leaders had played a key role in project failures by undermining their scientific and technical progress.
Breaking tradition with conventional wisdom, Hymans also argues that U.S. and international efforts to curb nuclear proliferation often overlook internal obstacles in the countries trying to develop weapons, a practice that can lead to counterproductive policies such as military solutions.
The book offers “a highly original, convincing and policy-relevant take on the major international problem of our day—nuclear proliferation,” said Hymans’ award nominator.
Hymans, whose research focuses on international security, also wrote the 2006 book “The Psychology of Nuclear Proliferation: Identity, Emotions and Foreign Policy.” Currently, he is studying the political implications of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
UofL presents four Grawemeyer Awards each year for outstanding works in music composition, world order, psychology and education. The university and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary jointly give a fifth award in religion. This year’s awards are $100,000 each.
For more details on the awards or to download Hymans’ photo, see http://www.grawemeyer.org/.