Daylong symposium to examine 'Nuclear Asia'

One year after North Korea’s announcement of a successful nuclear weapon test, an international panel of experts will gather at the University to discuss global implications of rising nuclear threats in Asia.

“Nuclear Asia: A Symposium on Policy, Proliferation, and Weapons Research in the Cold War and Beyond” is set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 12 in 228 Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Open to the public, the program will include speakers from the National University of Singapore, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Johns Hopkins University and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, among others.

Symposium chair Dr. Walter Grunden, history, will also make a presentation, “From Hungnam to Yongbyon: Myths and Facts about the Origins of North Korea’s Nuclear Program,” from 2-2:30 p.m. The author of Secret Weapons and World War II: Japan in the Shadow of Big Science, Grunden specializes in the history of weapons of mass destruction, particularly focusing on the Pacific War and the Cold War era.

The symposium will begin with a 9 a.m. welcome and opening remarks from Dr. Jeffrey Grilliot, director of global initiatives and co-director of the Global Village learning community.

From 9:20-9:50 a.m., University Distinguished Alumna Hiroko Nakamoto will discuss the Hiroshima Gateway Project—involving refurbishment of the Hiroshima railway station as a Gateway to Peace—and BGSU’s Peace Studies Program. The program’s curriculum has been developed with funds from a $1 million gift from Nakamoto, a 1954 fine arts graduate who went on to a distinguished career in architectural interior design. A portion of the gift has also gone toward enhancing the Asian Studies Program

Half-hour presentations will start at 10 a.m. with an introduction to nuclear weapons history by Dr. Mark Walker of Union College. Specializing in nuclear research in Nazi Germany, Walker has written extensively on the subject and was recently featured on a PBS “NOVA” documentary about heavy water production under the Third Reich.

Following Walker on the program will be:

• Dr. Masakatsu Yamazaki of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, on “Pacifying Anti-American Sentiments: Introducing ‘Peaceful Atoms’ to Japan after the Bikini Incident, 1953-55,” at 10:30 a.m. Yamazaki is recognized as a leading scholar in the history of science in Japan and, especially, as the foremost authority on Japan’s nuclear research during wartime.

• Dr. Zaiqing Fang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute for the History of Natural Sciences. Fang will address “The Role of the USSR in the Development of China’s Nuclear Program” at 11 a.m.

• Dr. Zuoyue Wang of the California Polytechnic Institute, on “The U.S. and China’s Atomic Bomb,” at 11:30 a.m. Wang specializes in the science history of the United States and China.

• Dr. John DiMoia of the National University of Singapore, on “Atoms for Sale: AERI (Atomic Energy Research Institute) and the Origins of the South Korean Nuclear Program, 1955-65,” at 2:30 p.m.

• Dr. Dong-Won Kim of Johns Hopkins University, on “The Role of Academia in the Nuclear Development of South and North Korea, 1953-79,” at 3 p.m. Kim is among the few academic experts on science and nuclear research in the Koreas.

• Dr. Jahnavi Phalkey of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.  Phalkey will address “Science and Development: The Organization of Post-war Nuclear Research in India, 1946-56” at 3:30 p.m.

The symposium will close with a 4 p.m. panel discussion of the impact of North Korea’s October 2006 nuclear test, recent developments and policy implications for the Asia and the United States.

A free buffet lunch is available to the first 50 registrants, while a social hour and dinner beginning at 6:15 p.m. is $25 per person. Registration forms for both events are on the symposium Web site: 36384.html. The registration deadline is Oct. 8.

Symposium sponsors are BGSU’s Hiroko Nakamoto Endowment Fund; Asian Studies and Peace Studies programs; College of Arts and Sciences; Graduate College; Graduate Program in Policy History, and history and political science departments.

For more information, visit the Web site, call the history department at 2-2030 or email Grunden at or

October 1, 2007