SSP Welcomes Kai Bird as the Keynote Speaker at the 2023 Ruina Nuclear Age Talk | 2023 | News

The Jack Ruina Nuclear Age Talk 2023 | Kai Bird
Kai Bird speaking next to Jim Walsh

Kai Bird is an American author and journalist. He is best known for his biographies of political figures. He won a Pulitzer Prize for American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (co-authored with Martin J. Sherwin), which served as the basis for the feature film directed by Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer, released over the summer of 2023. He is the acclaimed author of biographies of John J. McCloy, McGeorge Bundy, and William Bundy. His work includes critical writings on the Vietnam War, Hiroshima, Nuclear weapons, the Cold War, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the CIA. Bird and Sherwin also won the National Books Critics Circle Award and the Duff Cooper Prize for History.  In September 2016 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Carleton College. He is an elected member of the prestigious Society of American Historians.


The annual event hosted by the MIT Security Studies Program was endowed by Jack Ruina, MIT Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering as well as one of the founders and first Director of the MIT Security Studies Program. The talk features a prominent speaker who discussed one of Professor Ruina's major professional interests: nuclear weapons strategy and policy. 

Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and journalist, was the featured speaker at this winter's Jack Ruina Nuclear Age Dinner. He spoke on the relationship between the book American Prometheus and Nolan’s film Oppenheimer, the future story of the nuclear bomb, the changing role and stature of scientists, and the process of historiography and writing before finishing the night with a Q&A.