NPTG 8559 Science and Technology for Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies
Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
Course Description: This course provides students with a solid foundation in scientific and technical fundamentals critical to nonproliferation and terrorism policy analysis. Such policy analyses often require strong foundational knowledge of basic scientific and technical concepts in order to understand, create, and inform policy decisions. The course begins with an introduction to science and the scientific method and then evolves into the three main areas: biological weapons, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons and relevant technologies. Topics covered in the biological component include fundamental concepts related to microorganisms, DNA, RNA, proteins, and processes of infection and disease. Topics covered in the chemistry component include fundamental concepts related to atomic structure and the periodic table, chemical structural representations, functional groups, reactivity, toxicity, as well as modern separation, purification and analytic techniques commonly used for chemical species. Applications of the fundamental concepts in the first two topics are further developed in relation to features of chemical and biological weapons and warfare, including agents, delivery methods and effects. Topics covered in the nuclear component part of the course includes radioactivity, uranium, nuclear weapons, radiation detection instrumentation and applications, environmental plumes, and various instrumentation and analysis techniques. Upon completion of this course students will have a deeper appreciation for the debate on various verification solutions that have been proposed for compliance under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC), Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and nuclear treaties.
Online Zoom class meetings
Monday and Wednesday 12:00 PM to 1:50 PM
8/24/2020 to 12/11/2020
Instructor for the chemistry portion of the class: Mark Bishop
Office hours: by arrangement.
Recommended references - Chemistry module (Copies of the books are on reserve in the MIIS library.)
An Introduction to Chemistry, Atoms First by Mark Bishop
Online versions of the text and study guide can be found at
You can download chapters of the text in iBook form for iPad at
War of Nerves – Chemical Warfare from World War I to Al-Qaeda by Jonathan B. Tucker ISBN 978-1-4000-3233-4
Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) website
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
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