Robert Jungk

Jungk circa 1978

Robert Jungk (German: [jʊŋk]; born Robert Baum, also known as Robert Baum-Jungk; May 11, 1913 – July 14, 1994) was an Austrian writer and journalist who wrote mostly on issues relating to nuclear weapons.


Jungk was born into a Jewish family in Berlin. His father was David Baum (pseudonym: Max Jungk, 1872, Miskovice – 1937, Prague). When Adolf Hitler came to power, Jungk was arrested and released, moved to Paris, then back to Nazi Germany to work in a subversive press service. These activities forced him to move through various cities, such as Prague, Paris, and Zurich, during World War II. He continued journalism after the war.[1]

He is also well known as the inventor of future workshop which are a method for social innovation, participation by the concerned and visionary future planning "from below". In chapter six of his book The Big Machine, Jungk described CERN as the place to find the "first Planetarians, earth dwellers who no longer feel loyalty to a single nation, a single continent, or a single political creed, but to common knowledge that they advance together."[1] There is an international library in Salzburg called Robert Jungk Bibliothek fur Zukunftsfragen (Robert Jungk Library for Questions about the Future).

His book Brighter than a Thousand Suns: A Personal History of the Atomic Scientists was the first published account of the Manhattan Project and the German atomic bomb project, and its first Danish edition included a passage which implied that the project had been purposely dissuaded from developing a weapon by Werner Heisenberg and his associates (a claim strongly contested by Niels Bohr), and lead to a series of questions over a 1941 meeting between Bohr and Heisenberg in Copenhagen, Denmark, which was later the basis for Michael Frayn's 1998 play, Copenhagen.

In 1986, he received the Right Livelihood Award.

In 1992 he made an unsuccessful bid for the Austrian presidency on behalf of the Green Party.

Jungk died in Salzburg.


Decorations and awards


External links

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