Secrecy today

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By Edward B. Grothus

Dear Editor,

I try to imagine what the secrets are which are held in secrecy in the lab today? What is secret? What kinds of things are secret? From whom and from what entities are secrets being held? Are secrets being held by a few persons in the lab? Are secrets being held from colleagues in the lab? Are they being held from the public? Why secrets? There needs to be a real discussion of the secrecy business. What good is a secret if it is withheld? Most certainly there are no bomb secrets.The early attempts of this country to keep the development of the bomb secret failed in spite of enormous security precautions. Hasn’t Teller been correct in saying that there are no secrets after six months?What with all the recent exposure of secret documents wouldn’t it be prudent to declassify everything? There would be no embarrassing secrecy scandals if the were no secret documents. Oppie won the debate for open, weekly colloquia. Shouldn’t scientists today be bouncing interesting scientific ideas around among their colleagues and in public every week? Do idea exchanges only occur at lunch? Yes, ideas could be born here.The world is imperiled by emissions from the combustion of finite, expensive energy resources. In my judgment the most important project for the continued existence of the lab would be a major lab effort to work to successfully harness the gentle sun in order to supply all of the energy needs of the world. Solar power distribution is everywhere.There is science in this. A majority of politicians could be convinced that the lab should pursue this and similar projects. Save the lab. Save the world. Science for the world.Edward B. GrothusLos Alamos