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Biographical Memoirs: Volume 65
international cooperation across the Iron Curtain that separated the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe from the West. The first of these conferences was held in July 1957 in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, the birthplace and country home of industrialist Cyrus Eaton.
The series of annual conferences held ever since, together with many specialized smaller meetings, have been collectively named the Pugwash Conferences. From the beginning Harrison was one of the leaders in organizing and directing these conferences. His protege, John P. Holdren, has been for several years chairman of the International Pugwash Council and of the American sponsoring committee. The agenda was soon broadened to include problems of Third World development, European security, and certain environmental problems. For example, the International Foundation for Science, which supports research by young Third World scientists in their own countries, is a direct outcome of the Pugwash Conferences.
In 1957, Detlev Bronk, president of the National Academy of Sciences, asked Harrison to organize a new committee on oceanography (actually the fourth Academy committee on the subject). Bronk chose Harrison to be chairman of the committee (usually called NASCO for short) because of Brown's skill in dealing with temperamental, often egotistical leading scientists. The directors of the three major oceanographic institutions—Woods Hole, Lamont, and the Scripps Institution—were all members of NASCO, as was Fritz Koczy of Miami, Dixie Lee Ray of University of Washington (later governor of Washington), Gordon Riley of Yale, Benny Schaefer of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, and Athelstan Spilhaus, the inventor of the Bathythermograph and at that time dean of engineering at the University of Minnesota. Harrison succeeded beyond any reasonable expectation in harnessing these disparate,