Pavel Podvig (speaker) joined CISAC as a research associate in 2004. Before that he was a researcher at the Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT). He worked as a visiting researcher with the Security Studies Program at MIT and with the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University, and he taught physics in MIPT's General Physics Department for more than ten years.
Podvig graduated with honors from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 1988, with a degree in physics. In 2004 he received a PhD in political science from the Moscow Institute of World Economy and International Relations.
His research has focused on technical and political issues of missile defense, space security, U.S.-Russian relations, structure and capabilities of the Russian strategic forces, and nuclear nonproliferation. He was the head of the Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces research project and the editor of a book of the same title, which is considered a definitive source of information on Russian strategic forces.
Theodore Postol (discussant) is a professor of science, technology and national security policy in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. He did his undergraduate work in physics and his graduate work in nuclear engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After receiving his Ph.D., Postol joined the staff of Argonne National Laboratory, where he studied the microscopic dynamics and structure of liquids and disordered solids using neutron, x-ray and light scattering, along with computer molecular dynamics techniques. Subsequently he went to the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment to study methods of basing the MX Missile, and later worked as a scientific adviser to the Chief of Naval Operations. After leaving the Pentagon, Postol helped to build a program at Stanford University to train mid-career scientists to study developments in weapons technology of relevance to defense and arms control policy. In 1990 Postol was awarded the Leo Szilard Prize from the American Physical Society. In 1995 he received the Hilliard Roderick Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and in 2001 he received the Norbert Wiener Award from Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility for uncovering numerous and important false claims about missile defenses.