Hans Kristensen: Great Immigrant, Great American

The Federation of American Scientists is proud to announce that Hans Kristensen, Nuclear Information Project director, is honored as a Carnegie Corporation of New York 2020 Great Immigrant, Great American.

The Great Immigrant, Great American initiative is a tribute to its namesake, the Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and recognizes American immigrants who have contributed greatly to American life in a variety of fields. Honorees like Hans Kristensen demonstrate an exceptional commitment to excellence in fields of research, art, medicine, entrepreneurship, and more. 

Kristensen oversees the Nuclear Information Project, called by the Washington Post “one of the most widely sourced agencies for nuclear warhead counts,” which publishes the world-famous Nuclear Notebook and SIPRI overview of world nuclear forces. He is a frequent consultant to and is widely referenced in national and international news media on the role and status of nuclear weapons.

“I’m deeply honored and humbled to receive this award. As a nuclear weapons analyst, you don’t get many,” said Kristensen upon receiving the award. “So as a newly naturalized citizen, this award is double meaningful to me.”

“When it comes to striving for a safer world, Hans Kristensen is a national treasure. He is a testament to all the ways immigrants make our country great. FAS and the United States are lucky to have him,” FAS President Ali Nouri said about Kristensen. 

Gilman Louie, FAS Chairman and member of the US National Security Commission for Artificial Intelligence, said: “In the great tradition of the Federation of American Scientists, Hans has made the world safer by increasing public transparency on global nuclear forces and proliferation. Hans brought his exceptional analytic skills to better this country and is the embodiment of a great American and scholar, well deserving of this award.”

Rosina Bierbaum, FAS Vice Chair, former White House science advisor, and UMD Professor, said: “American science is strong because of the influx of talent and scholarship from other countries working together to improve the human condition and Hans Kristensen is the embodiment of great American science. For four decades, Hans has worked to ‘foresee and forestall’ the threat of nuclear weapons around the world. He is most deserving of this recognition.”

Joan Rohlfing, President and Chief Operating Officer of Nuclear Threat Initiative, said: “Congratulations to Hans Kristensen for this well-deserved recognition. His outstanding research, analysis and advocacy has been essential to greater public understanding and debate on reducing global nuclear threats, a critical step toward a safer world.”

Frank von Hippel, former FAS Chair and Princeton University Professor, said: “This award is richly deserved. Hans Kristensen is probably the most cited analyst in the nuclear arms control community. He and his collaborators provide authoritative and regularly updated assessments of  the nuclear weapons and ‘delivery vehicles’ of all the nuclear-weapon states and make key contributions to the literature on such subjects.”

Sharon K. Weiner, American University Associate Professor and former White House Office of Management and Budget analyst, said: “Hans Kristensen is one of the most highly regarded nuclear weapons analysts in the world, and his work serves as a constant key reference point for international efforts aimed at understanding, explaining, reducing and eliminating the threat from nuclear weapons to humankind and the planet. He is a national treasure.”

For more information about the Great Immigrant, Great American award, to see the full 2020 cohort, and past recipients, visit the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s website here.



Federation of American Scientists calls on United and American to reverse their decision to fully book planes

Washington, DC, June 30, 2020

Mr. Doug Parker
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
American Airlines

Mr. Scott Kirby
Chief Executive Officer
United Airlines

Dear Mr. Parker and Mr. Kirby,

As representative of an organization dedicated to a safe and more secure world, I write to express my strong concerns about your recent decisions to return to booking your airlines’ flights to capacity.

COVID-19 spreads easily and is deadly — as of Tuesday afternoon on June 30th, there have been over 2.6 million confirmed infections and, tragically, more than 126,000 deaths in the US alone. The coronavirus — SARS-CoV-2 — is primarily spread “through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks,” and some of those droplets are aerosolized, remaining airborne for tens of minutes. Moreover, COVID-19 can be transmitted efficiently “by people who are not showing symptoms.” These factors make it all the more critical to follow public health guidance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people put at least six feet of distance between themselves and those outside of their households, in addition to taking other preventative measures such as covering the mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others. Even air travel at 50 percent capacity, or flights with middle seats left open, while not allowing six feet of distance between people, would be better than nothing.

In light of all this, your decisions to book flights to capacity place your crew and your passengers in excessive danger. That’s why it is also drawing criticism from government experts. The country’s top two federal public health officials — Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director — described your actions as problematic and deeply disappointing at today’s Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing.

For all of these reasons, I urge you to immediately reverse your decision and to protect your passengers and crew from COVID-19 to the extent possible.

Ali Nouri, PhD

President, Federation of American Scientists