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.
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." 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.
Jungk died in Salzburg.
- Jungk, Robert. Tomorrow Is Already Here, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1954. Reportage on scientific and technical breakthroughs, a work of nascent dystopian 'futurism'. Much of it was about what developed from the Manhattan Project, as well as things like "electronic brains".
- ---- Brighter than a Thousand Suns: A Personal History of the Atomic Scientists, New York: Harcourt Brace, 1958
- ---- Children of the Ashes, 1st English ed. 1961. About Hiroshima
- ---- The Nuclear State
- ---- The Everyman Project
- ---- Future Workshops
Decorations and awards
- 1970: Honorary Professor at the Technical University of Berlin
- 1986: Right Livelihood Award
- 1989: Honorary Citizen of the City of Salzburg
- 1992: Alternative Büchner Prize
- 1993: Honorary Doctor of the University of Osnabrück
- 1993: Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art
- 1993: Salzburg Award for Future Research
- Janette D. Sherman, The Legacy of Robert Jungk -- Tomorrow is Already Here: Is It Too Late? (2014.05.28), CounterPunch
- "Robert Jungk, futurist and social inventor"
- Works by Robert Jungk at Open Library
- Robert Jungk & The New Encyclopedists (1978) revisited – a late eulogy at the 14th Anniversary of his death