In the summer of 2014...

Winter 2014

Emma Hansen

Schulich Leader at University of Toronto

In the summer of 2014, I served as a Disarmament and Demilitarization Intern with Pax Christi International, an ecumenical peace organization located in Brussels. The three months I spent in Belgium were full of surprises and incredible learning opportunities, and I am so grateful to the Schulich Leader Scholarships that I was able to take this opportunity.

When I was in high school, my interest in physics was brought into question when I started learning about nuclear weapons.

​Here ​were these beautiful theories in modern physics that we discussed in class -- wave-particle duality, entanglement, and other quantum-level phenomena that even Richard Feynman concede​d​ that nobody understands. On the other hand, there is this record of immense destruction -- Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and then the legacy of nuclear testing. I found the applications of my favourite area of study pretty disturbing.

Since then, I have become increasingly interested in the topic of social responsibility in the sciences. 

​My internship with Pax Christi International was the perfect way to explore that interest. I had the opportunity to do research and help prepare campaigns related to disarmament; I participated in international peace events, and I met some incredible people through my travels this summer.​ 

Now that my physics classes are once again in full swing, I find myself a little bit less troubled. I was inspired and motivated by the people I met in the peace movement who are working toward a more just world and saner management of scientific discoveries, and I am very happy to have been able to contribute in my own small way to that work.