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Former SIPRI Director Frank Barnaby—in memoriam

Former SIPRI Director Frank Barnaby—In memoriam
Former SIPRI Director Frank Barnaby during a launch event of the SIPRI Yearbook

SIPRI mourns the passing of former SIPRI Director Frank Barnaby (United Kingdom), who died on 1 August 2020 at the age of 92.

Dan Smith, SIPRI Director, said, ‘Frank Barnaby was the Director of SIPRI throughout the 1970s. We met several times during that period and he was unfailingly encouraging to me as a young researcher. He was an inspirational and authoritative speaker and writer on nuclear arms control, weapons technology and other peace and security issues of the time.’

A nuclear physicist by training, Frank Barnaby was the Institute’s second Director from 1971 to 1981. Prior to joining SIPRI, he worked at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment from 1951 to 1957. He moved on to University College, London, where he taught as a lecturer between 1957 and 1967. He was on the senior scientific staff of the Medical Research Council (UK) and in the late 1960s he was Executive Secretary of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

During his mandate as SIPRI Director, Frank Barnaby was instrumental in advancing the Institute’s research on nuclear disarmament and arms control. He convened numerous discussions with international experts on pertinent issues related to nuclear non-proliferation, especially on the first two Review Conferences of the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1975 and 1980. He also directed and supervised the production of the SIPRI Yearbook continuing the analysis of ‘the world’s arms races and the attempts to stop them’.

‘The steady flow of authoritative information provided by SIPRI is an enormous asset to researchers, historians, journalists, commentators and all others interested in armaments and disarmament’, wrote Frank in a personal essay marking the Institute’s 40th anniversary. ‘It is crucially important that knowledge about nuclear and other armaments is made readily and widely available. SIPRI has been the main source of such information for the past 40 years. Hopefully it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future’, he added.

Frank Barnaby was a Guest Professor at the VU University Amsterdam in 1981–85 and Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota where he took up the Harold Stassen Chair of International Relations in 1985. He joined the Oxford Research Group as Scientific and Technical Consultant on nuclear issues in 1994. He remained active even after retirement on issues of nuclear disarmament as well civil nuclear weapons.

For editors

Frank Barnaby was SIPRI’s second Director since the Institute’s founding in 1966, succeeding Robert Neild. SIPRI published several volumes written by Frank Barnaby such as The Nuclear Age (Almqvist & Wiksell: 1974); Preventing Nuclear-weapon Proliferation: An Approach to the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (SIPRI: 1975) and Tactical Nuclear Weapons: European Perspectives (Taylor & Francis: 1978). Frank has also co-authored several publications such as Internationalization to Prevent the Spread of Nuclear Weapons (Taylor & Francis: 1980) and The NPT: The Main Political Barrier to Nuclear Weapon Proliferation (Taylor & Francis: 1980).