Hymans wins Grawemeyer world order prize
A book explaining why nuclear weapons programs in many developing nations have been prone to inefficiency and failure has won the 2014 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.
Jacques Hymans, associate professor of international relations at the University of Southern California, earned the prize for his 2012 book “Achieving Nuclear Ambitions: Scientists, Politicians and Proliferation.”
At least half of the nuclear weapons projects launched in developing nations since 1970 have failed and even the successful ones have met with delays. In case studies of nuclear programs in Iraq, China, North Korea and other countries, Hymans found that arbitrary management by dictatorial leaders played a key role in project failures by undermining their scientific and technical progress.
Breaking tradition with conventional wisdom, he also argued that U.S. and international efforts to curb nuclear proliferation often overlook internal obstacles in the countries trying to develop weapons, a practice that can lead to counterproductive policies such as military solutions.
The book offers “a highly original, convincing and policy-relevant take on the major international problem of our day—nuclear proliferation,” said Hymans’ award nominator.
Hymans, who has social studies and government degrees from Harvard University, began working in USC’s School of International Relations in 2008. He has conducted in-depth case study research in Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America and is now in Japan studying the political implications of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Before he joined USC, he taught and did research in Smith College’s Department of Government. He also was a postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State’s Mershon Center for International Security Studies and Harvard’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and a predoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.
Hymans’ Grawemeyer Award-winning book, published by Cambridge University Press, also has received awards from the American Political Science Association and the National Academy for Public Administration.
UofL presents four Grawemeyer Awards each year for outstanding works in music composition, world order, psychology and education. The university and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary jointly give a fifth award in religion. This year’s awards are $100,000 each.
For more details on the awards or to download Hymans’ photo, see grawemeyer.org.