In her book Imaginary
Weapons, Sharon Weinberger reminds us that vast amounts of the
taxpayers money (about $50,000 per second) are spent
on the technology of war. Improving of the technology requires
understanding of the underlying science, a complex and challenging
task. In order to "simplify" decisions that direct (or redirect)
billions of dollars of contracts there have emerged cadres of "Experts"
whose massive certainties about what can (and more often, what cannot)
be done become the dominant factors in decisions about "who gets the
money." Membership in these elite cadres having been known as "the
JASONS," or "the Best and the Brightest," is usually secret,
self-perpetuating, and void of diversity. In Imaginary Weapons, Sharon
Weinberger claims to address this topic. However, what she produces is
a portrayal of 2-dimensional actors in a grotesque morality play that
is written without concern for the number of casualties that will
result from her labeling of real people as being either Good or Evil
according to her shallow level of understanding of the issues.
In fact, Imaginary Weapons tells only the story of the battle that
ensued over an insignificant 5 seconds of Defense expenditure.
Imaginary Weapons also illuminates the dangerous threat to that
existing totalitarian management of scientific research that underlies
war technology that must not advance too rapidly, and certainly not too
cheaply. In most of Imaginary Weapons, Sharon Weinberger has focused on
one "obscure Texas scientist" whom she labels the "antihero" of the
book - a full Professor of Physics for 31 years, who refused all
security clearances and elected to work only openly with a sequence of
36 Graduate Students who got the PhD under his direction and who were
drawn from the most diverse origins. In a team of 15 Faculty and
Students from 8 laboratories in 5 countries, they proved that the great
energy storage of isomeric Hafnium nuclei could be released on demand
by winning, in open international competition, considerable access to
the world's leading research tool for such experiments, the great
synchrotron light source in Japan. The US facilities used by the "Best
and Brightest," remain tied for 4th rank in the world and so proved
inadequate for such research. The Climax of Imaginary
Weapons by Sharon Weinberger describes the
destruction of that collaboration after 6 years of leadership in Isomer
- Sharon Weinberger
empathizing with the students and young professionals who lost their
jobs because of her book.
Alp [p.205] advised that he did not provide Spring-8 officials with Ms.
Weinberger's magazine article, contrary to the account in the book."
Chief Counsel, Chicago Office of the United States Department of Energy.
Amazon.com book rankings:
Imaginary Weapons by Sharon Weinberger with a pleasant children's book
that started at the same rank.