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Stanford University

The Threat of Nuclear Terrorism

Stanford University via edX


Is the threat of nuclear terrorism real? Listen to Graham Allison, Martha Crenshaw, David Holloway and Joe Martz as they investigate the evidence with myself and selected Stanford students. What would be the consequences of a nuclear terror attack? The scenario is difficult to imagine, but Alex Wellerstein and Lynn Eden help me and our students understand just what could happen if the worst case occurs, and how we can work to limit the damage. What can we do to prevent or mitigate this risk? Participate as I explore this crucial question with the help of Stephen Flynn, Rachel Bronson, Valerie Plame Wilson, Ellen Tauscher and Jeffrey Lewis.

With the expert help of Stanford Online, we are able to bring to you this unprecedented group of experts from a wide variety of fields, who share a strong commitment to the urgency of educating people on this important topic. In some of the sessions, you will also hear students actively participating in the conversation. You’ll be exposed to a profound and sometimes disturbing body of research and information, and challenged to find a path forward out of this predicament.

We do not have required reading, but under Additional Resources you will find numerous books, articles, web links and videos to enhance your experience. In addition, we offer a "Nukes in the News" section to add topicality. The more you participate, the more you will get out of your experience.

Our course differs from most online courses in a fundamental way: our goal is not just to provide facts, but to inspire you to take action. You have the power to make a difference, and I believe this course will give you knowledge and hopefully motivation to do so. You can read more about the subject, and find ways to become involved, by visiting the website of the William J. Perry Project:


Week 1: Who Are the Terrorists? What Do They Want?

Dr. William J. Perry, Dr. Graham Allison, Dr. Martha Crenshaw

Week 2: What Are the Historical and Contemporary Security Issues with Nuclear Weapons and Materials?

Dr. William J. Perry, Dr. Graham Allison, Dr. David Holloway, Valerie Plame Wilson

Week 3: Could a Terrorist Group Make a Nuclear Bomb? If a Terrorist Group Made an Improvised Nuclear Device, Could They Deliver It to One of Our Cities?

Dr. William J. Perry, Dr. Stephen Flynn, Dr. Joseph Martz

Week 4: What Would Be the Consequences of an Improvised Nuclear Device's Detonation in a U.S. City?

Dr. William J. Perry, Dr. Lynn Eden, Dr. Alex Wellerstein

Week 5: What Has Been Done to Lower the Likelihood of a Nuclear Terror Event, or to Mitigate the Damage if We Experience One?

Dr. William J. Perry, Dr. Graham Allison, Dr. Rachel Bronson, Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, Rep. Ellen Tauscher

Taught by

William Perry


3.0 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

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  • Sergey Monin

    Sergey Monin completed this course and found the course difficulty to be very easy.

    90% of this course is to scare you about the aftermath of nuclear attack ONLY in USA. The lecturers are very old and retired politicians (from 80/90s). Very boring, would not recommend.
  • Profile image for Cameron Machado
    Cameron Machado

    Cameron Machado completed this course.

    The course was incredibly informational. The course brought in numerous world-renowned experts in the fields of engineering and politics, to comprehensively explain the threat of nuclear terrorism and what we can do to help solve the nuclear problem.

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