In 1986 the President of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences extended invitations to the Academies of Sciences of Western Europe to create a Committee of European scientists who would join the existing U.S. Committee on International Security and Arms Control (CISAC) and a comparable group of senior scientists of the Soviet Academy in their informal discussions of issues of arms control and nuclear disarmament.
The Italian Academy was the first to respond positively, and in 1988 a conference on these issues took place in Rome. Others followed in different countries, their numbers rising to 18 by 2010. After the death in 1989 of Edoardo Amaldi. President of the Lincei, these conferences were named “International Amaldi Conferences of National Academies of Sciences on Scientific Problems of Global Security”. At later conferences scientists from Eastern Europe, Asia and the Third World were also invited.
Most European academies had been reluctant to take up studies in subjects of hot political significance. But many encouraged members to take part as individuals.
Meanwhile, the political landscape has changed dramatically. It may be justified to consider the consequences for the Amaldi Conferences.
In this paper the history of the founding and of the development of the Amaldi Conferences is described with special reference to the following aspects:
- The Origin
- The Vision of a European CISAC
- Widening the Scope of the Amaldi Conferences?
- Are the Amaldi Conferences still serving their initial purpose?
- Are there new chances today for a European CISAC?