Physicist, "activist scientist" Melba Phillips dies

BoingBoing reader Dano says, "She was a physicist in a time when women just didn't do that, and [her passing should be of interest to BoingBoing readers because of] what she did for the world community with regard to the Federation of American Scientists and anti-secrecy."

Physicist Melba Phillips, among the last of a vanishing generation of activist scientists who founded the Federation of American Scientists and fought the political battles of the early cold war, died last week. A 1947 policy statement on "military secrecy and security" that she co-authored for the FAS leadership complained that the personnel security practices of the Atomic Energy Commission were "extra-legal, arbitrary, and often subversive of every right of the individual in a democracy" … FAS in its early years was sharply divided between liberal anticommunists, who eventually became dominant, and popular front liberals. Dr. Phillips was among the latter.