- Former nuclear scientist who now advocates nuclear disarmament
- Physics professor
- Board member of the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies
- Former member of both the Young Communist League and the Communist Party
Born in New Jersey in 1915, Dr. Philip Morrison is a board member of the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies (IDDS), a pro-disarmament group with ties to such leftwing organizations as Americans for Democratic Action, the War Resisters League, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the World Federalists. Founded in 1980, the IDDS began at a time when its originators believed that the best way to ensure peace was to denude the United States of its defense arsenal. Soon thereafter, IDDS chief executive Randall Forsberg launched the nuclear freeze movement, a Soviet-sponsored initiative that would have frozen Soviet nuclear and military superiority in place, and would have rendered the new American president, Ronald Reagan, unable to close that gap by any appreciable degree. Reagan opposed the concept of a unilateral freeze, and his opposition was ultimately vindicated by America’s Cold War victory. The success of Reagan’s strategy is detailed in Peter Schweizer’s book Victory: The Reagan Administration’s Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union.
Morrison received his Bachelors degree from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1936, and four years later earned his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from UC-Berkeley, where he studied under the supervision of J. Robert Oppenheimer.
As a young man, Morrison was a member of the Communist Party and the Young Communist League. He resigned from these organizations just prior to taking a position with the Manhattan Project, the secret World War II-era endeavor to produce an atomic bomb. He participated in the Trinity Test in Los Alamos, the first test of an atomic bomb. During the past several decades, Morrison has been a strong opponent of the development of nuclear weapons, having written and spoken out widely against them.
In 1946, Morrison became a physics professor at Cornell University, and nineteen years later took a teaching post at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has also taught at San Francisco State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana.