GENS4008 Nuclear Arms and the New World Order
The aim of this
course is to discuss the problem of nuclear weapons: how they work,
what their effects are, and how we might get rid of them. The subject
involves a mixture of science and international relations, and is
usually taught jointly by physicists and political scientists..
In talking about arms control issues, we are inevitably drawn into
a discussion of the ‘New World Order’, and the shape of things to
The First Year
Teaching Unit, a separate unit within the School of Physics, is
responsible for teaching the subject. Professor M. Burton is the
Director of this unit, located in Room 03, Old Main Building (ext.
Co-ordinator is A/Prof.
C.J. Hamer, Room 106, Old Main Building. Enquiries regarding
content, assessment, etc. should be directed to Prof. Hamer in the
first instance, or the First Year Teaching Unit in the second instance.
If you are absent
from any University class with legitimate reason, e.g. illness,
you should report that fact to the Registrar, in the Chancellery,
together with any supporting documents, e.g. medical certificates.
This is of particular importance as your absence may affect your
final assessment grade in a subject.
If you discontinue
“Nuclear Arms and the New World Order” you should notify the Physics
First Year Teaching Unit (Room 03), and also complete and lodge
the appropriate form with the Registrar.
Changes of address
should be notified in writing to the First Year Teaching Unit and
to the Registrar.
In this subject,
students are invited to study and debate various questions connected
with nuclear weapons, which constitute perhaps the ultimate threat
to our security and environment. No previous knowledge is assumed.
We first look
briefly at the international political system, and the principal
actors on the world stage. We discuss the role that warfare has
played in international affairs over the centuries, and the factors
driving the arms race.
Next we ask
how a nuclear bomb actually works, and the biological and environmental
effects its explosion might have. We discuss the effects of blast,
heat and radiation, and the possibility of a “nuclear winter”. We
look at the strategies developed by NATO and the Warsaw Pact for
the deployment and use of nuclear weapons.
Then we review
the various attempts to control nuclear arms, including the recent
INF and START treaties. Means of verifying these agreements are
discuss political means by which the threat of nuclear weapons might
be removed forever. Various systems of collective security are reviewed,
including the United Nations and the European Union. We finish on
the topic of the “New World Order”, and where it might lead us in
- The International
- Nuclear Processes
- Nuclear Weapons:
Principles, Types and Development.
- Effects of
a Nuclear Bomb: Blast, Heat, Radiation.
and Biological Effects of Nuclear Weapons
- Some current
issues such as the National Missile Defense (NMD) program are
- Arms Control
- Current Issues
in Nuclear Arms Control
- The United
- The European
- The Search
for Common Security
To be advised
A/Prof. C. Hamer
(Course Co-ordinator) School of Physics
To be advised
The class will
be divided into tutorial groups, beginning in Week 2 of the Session.
will consist of presentations and debates by students on questions
associated with the course, and discussion of the material presented
There will be
four components to your assessment as shown above.
a) An in-session 1 hour examination consisting of short essay
questions, contributing 20%
b) An essay to be handed in by the end of week 11, contributing
c) An oral presentation on a topic for discussion, contributing
d) A mark for participation during tutorials, contributing
YOU SHOULD NOTE
(i) Your final result will be notified to you by the university
in the usual fashion
(ii) Additional assessment after the final examination period
at the end of the session may be awarded only on the grounds of
documented illness or other extenuating circumstances. Under
University regulations any such documentation must be submitted
within 7 days of the end of session examination. Documentation submitted
after this 7 day period will not be considered.
(iii) An application for review of results may only be made at
the end of the session. Such a review is not a reassessment.
As the calendar states:
“A review of
a result is not a detailed reassessment of a student’s standard
of knowledge and understanding of, and skills in, the subject. It
is rather a search for arithmetic error in arriving at the composite
mark and for any gross and obvious error in assignment of marks
in components of the final composite mark.”
A list of essay
topics will be given out at the beginning of the course. Each topic
may be chosen by one person in each tutorial group, so the essay
topics must be booked with your tutor on a first come, first served
An essay of
about 2,000 – 3,000 words is required. Handwritten reports are acceptable,
but if your handwriting is not legible, please have the report typed.
be submitted by 5:00 pm on Friday of week 11 of session.
They must be
handed to your tutor, or else to the First Year Physics Unit (Room
A guide to writing
essays will be handed out at the beginning of the course. Make
sure you read and understand it, especially the sections on including
references and avoiding plagiarism. “Any argument, quote or
idea taken from a reference source and included in the essay without
acknowledgement is termed plagiarism.” If plagiarism is detected
in an essay, the essay will be failed and disciplinary action taken.
will make an oral presentation to his/her tutorial group, putting
the case for one side of a debated issue. This presentation will
be assessed, counting 15%.
of cost there is no recommended text for the subject.
You should find
the following reference books useful.
- D.S. Papp, Contemporary International Relations
A standard textbook on international relations
- D.W. Ziegler, War, peace, and international relations
- K. Tsipis, Understanding Nuclear Weapons A
general description in laymen’s terms.
- Morris McCain, Understanding Arms Control
- R.Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb;
Dark Sun: The making of the Hydrogen Bomb.
A Pulitzer prize-winning account.
- A.B. Pittock: Beyond Darkness An
Australian perspective on the effects of nuclear weapons.
- D. Ball: A Suitable Piece of Real Estate Functions
of U.S. bases in Australia.
- K. Suter: Alternative to War
- L.S. Wittner: One World or None: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament
- C. Hamer: A Global Parliament (now