Robert Jungk

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Jungk circa 1978

Robert Jungk (German: [jʊŋk]; born Robert Baum, also known as Robert Baum-Jungk; 11 May 1913 – 14 July 1994) was an Austrian writer, journalist, historian and peace campaigner who wrote mostly on issues relating to nuclear weapons.[1]


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.[2]

He is also well known as the inventor of the future workshop, which is 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."[2] There is an international library in Salzburg called Robert-Jungk-Bibliothek für 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 German project had been purposely dissuaded from developing a weapon by Werner Heisenberg and his associates (a claim strongly contested by Niels Bohr), and led 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 for "struggling indefatigably on behalf of peace, sane alternatives for the future and ecological awareness."[3]

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

Jungk died in Salzburg on 14 July 1994.[1]


Decorations and awards[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Calder, John (17 July 1994). "Obituary: Robert Jungk". The Independent. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  2. ^ a b Janette D. Sherman, The Legacy of Robert Jungk -- Tomorrow is Already Here: Is It Too Late? (2014.05.28), CounterPunch
  3. ^ "Robert Jungk". The Right Livelihood Award. Retrieved 2020-01-08.

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