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International Niels Bohr Conference: An open world

After helping the US develop the atomic bomb, Niels Bohr* worked tirelessly to promote a world where knowledge was freely accessible. His thoughts remain highly relevant in a world where internet surveillance and the increasing role of drones and space weapons in warfare raise questions about not just openness but also the opportunities and consequences of technology.

As part of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Bohr's atomic model, the University of Copenhagen is gathering international researchers and decision-makers to participate in a conference and debate about how open access to information can help us manage global problems.

4-6 December 2013, the Ceremonial Hall, the University of Copenhagen.

The conference will focus on modern problems in bioethics, economics, politics, the climate and information sciences. We ask:

  • Is a world with open access to information the answer to society's problems?
  • Which initiatives can improve the relationship between science and politics?
  • Which technologies and sciences have currently developed beyond our capacity to control them?

In an open letter to the UN in 1950, Bohr wrote: "The efforts of all supporters of international co-operation, individuals as well as nations, will be needed to create in all countries an opinion to voice, with ever increasing clarity and strength, the demand for an open world."

This conference will take Bohr at his word, and will conclude by writing a new open letter to the UN.

The attendees include:

  • Jimmy Wales: Wikileaks, founder and spokesperson
  • Irina Bokuwa: Unesco, director general
  • Susan P. Crawford: Former science and technology advisor for US President Barack Obama
  • Rolf-Dieter Heuer: CERN, director general
  • Sir Nigel Shadbolt: Open Data Institute, co-founder and chairman of the board
  • Yukiya Amano: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), director general
  • Richard Rhodes: Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian specialising in nuclear weapons
  • Dennis Meadows: Professor and co-author of the book 'Limits to Growth'


Contact: Mads Christoffersen
University of Copenhagen

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