Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Remembering Lawrence Scheinman

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Lawrence Scheinman

February 27, 2017

The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) deeply mourns the passing of our colleague Dr. Lawrence Scheinman. Dr. Scheinman served as co-director of the CNS Washington, DC, office at the time of its creation and later held the title of Distinguished Professor, before retiring from CNS in 2012.

We have created this page to facilitate others to post their memories and thoughts about Dr. Scheinman.

Read more about Dr. Scheinman in a remembrance by Dr. William Potter and Leonard Spector

Dr. Scheinman – Larry to all of his many friends – through an exceptional career in academia and government was a major contributor in shaping the field of nonproliferation studies and key elements of U.S. nonproliferation policy. To those of us who had the privilege of working with him, Larry was a gracious and engaging colleague, whose gentle manner masked his admirable tenacity in advancing the nonproliferation agenda. He will be greatly missed by his many friends and colleagues in the United States and abroad.


Labs contributions are legion. He was one of the architects of multilateral diplomacy to reduce nuclear dangers. He was an encyclopedia of knowledge, a colleague and a friend. His good works live on with Adam, who embodies Larry's integrity and purposefulness.
A life well lived.
Michael Krepon

I want to thank Bill Potter and David Steiger for creating a space on this page where people can leave their thoughts about Larry.

Like all of us who have worked with him over the years, I was surprised and saddened by the news of Larry's passing. Larry was, of course, a central figure in the US nuclear policymaking. He had an encyclopedic mind, especially when it came to the IAEA. His career combined academic scholarship and policymaking long before the current debates in social science about policy relevance. And like George Bunn, he even contributed progeny to the field. Most of all, however, Larry was a kind and gentle person. For me, more than 20 years his junior, he was an avuncular expert, the guy at the meeting that you could go up to and chat with and get a question answered. I don't think it would be too much to say that, for a while anyway, he was the wise and kind uncle for the entire nuclear community. That stern photo of him posted here makes me laugh, and I think Larry would have liked that. He had a wonderful sense of humor and smile. None of this is to suggest he was a pushover. He wasn't. And he held strong beliefs on more than one topic. But I will remember him not for that nor his excellent book on France but rather for his steady and friendly way. At a moment of great uncertainty and tumult in our field, we could use Larry's assuring presence. I miss him already.

I was saddened to hear about Larry Scheinman's passing away. I had known Larry for more than three decades and throughout these years he was unfailingly supportive and kind. Larry and I collaborated on many activities and travelled together to many far away lands promoting nuclear non-proliferation and international security. He remained friendly, accessible and good humoured during his service as a senior official at the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Larry was highly respected at the International Atomic Energy Agency for his valuable insights and contributions, and was always welcome there. He was a great role model for students and young professionals coming up in the field. I was privileged to have last seen him in the summer of 2015 and was sorry to hear about his departure last month. I will always remember him as a good friend and gentle spirit. May His Soul Rest in Peace.

Larry was a great man -- a huge contributor both to practice and to scholarship on nuclear nonproliferation. And a genuinely friendly and open person, always eager to discuss issues, even with much younger and less experienced colleagues.

I was blessed to have the opportunity to interact with Larry in my time in the NGO world, in government, and in academia. He almost always had a carefully considered view of what could be done about a problem -- and often a "venturesome" (as John Steinbruner would have said) proposal to offer. He truly helped us understand the balance states seek between national sovereignty and international responsibility in the nuclear space.

Condolences to his family and his many friends. Another giant has passed.

“Somewhat out of the usual tradition”, as Larry wrote in the preface to Atomic Energy Policy in France thanking me for some research tasks I completed for him in Paris, I am moved by these and other tributes to add a note of appreciation. It is one thing to know someone as a brother, but another to witness the warmth and respect of his colleagues. I am grateful for the words I’ve read. They don’t make me any prouder of him than I already was, but it gives me joy to hear him described as kind and gentle to people when we knew that’s what he was to his Airedales, to know that his sense of humor exhibited itself outside the family; to read references to his critical scientific mind and value to scholars, government and the general public. Thank you all.

Remembering Larry

Years ago I was a graduate student in the Political Science Department of the University of Michigan. One day as I was waiting for an elevator a man approached me and called me by name. I had no idea who he was. He introduced himself - he was Professor Lawrence Scheinman and he asked if I would like a summer research job. Being the typical hungry student I replied "Yes" immediately. Then, almost as an afterthought, I asked him "Doing what?" "Working on international safeguards" he responded. "International WHAT??" I asked.

And so began my professional journey in the nuclear realm although I did not know it at the time. As it turned out, Professor Scheinman's faculty office was next door to my Faculty Advisor who had told Larry I was looking for a job.

I spent the summer working in a small office on the outskirts of the University's main campus, discovering the definition and characteristics of the international safeguards system as applied by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) located in Vienna, Austria. I also had the opportunity to get to know the good-humored, energetic and hard-working Professor Scheinman a bit.

Not long after my summer job ended, my Faculty Advisor accepted a position at a university in California and I suddenly lost a key member of my Doctoral Committee overseeing my Ph. D. dissertation work. Fortunately for me, Professor Scheinman agreed to join my Committee. Even after he departed for a faculty position at Cornell University, Larry remained involved in overseeing my efforts to produce an acceptable dissertation. In the acknowledgements portion of my dissertation I wrote "Special thanks also go to the members of my dissertation committee, particularly to Professor Lawrence Scheinman for introducing me to the concept and policy of international safeguards..."

In 1976 I joined the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) in Washington, D.C. It wasn't long before I encountered Larry again. He was back and forth from Cornell to Washington on one nuclear-related issue after another. For the next thirty years we remained in touch in unpredictable ways as we both dealt with the challenges of nuclear non-proliferation work. Larry was driven by this work. He was committed to and passionate about it. He was the consummate academic, insistent on getting the facts right. He was also a thoughtful policy analyst, intent on crafting policy approaches that were effective and durable. And he was my friend for many, many years. Out of the blue he would call me, racking my brain on so many different nuclear issues that I could hardly keep track. But before we would launch into professional pursuits, we always took time to swap reports on our families and I could always hear the pride in his voice when he would tell me what his sons were doing.

Looking back now I realize how great a debt of gratitude I owe him for being my teacher, my mentor and my dear friend. I remember the last time we were colleagues together on a project dealing with the IAEA sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation. We were in several meetings together and conferred regularly by phone for months. He was his usual jovial, hard-working self, anxious to contribute meaningfully to maintaining and strengthen the security of our world. He was such a positive force for good and his impact was profound.

I am among the many who will miss him so much.

Thank you for everything Larry.


Larry Scheinman was absolutely the pivotal figure in my intellectual/academic formation, and I owe so much to his erudition, insight and inspiration, and affability. As my mentor in graduate studies at UCLA , Larry kept me on course to pursue my interest in nonproliferation studies, esp. with respect to Europe given his EURATOM research. My dissertation on the Italian nuclear energy program put me under Dr Ciro Zoppo's tutelage at UCLA, but Larry was always there to help, and it was thanks to him that at the completion of my PhD (and a year in Japan thanks to UCLA Professor Hans Baerwald) I returned to Cornell with a post doc Larry had arranged for me. From Cornell, I went to Harvard for another post doc, again with Larry's encouragement, and on to the University of Texas, Austin and eventually, the Monterey Institute where, years later at Bill Potter's invitation, Larry was involved in the Institute's Washington center.
My contribution to the field of nonproliferation studies, in the academy and briefly as a staffer in the US Senate, was paltry compared to Larry's and colleagues cited above: but, I share with so many his inspiration and devotion to the cause of making the world safe from the potential threat of nuclear devastation. Along with us all, Larry's family should take comfort in his impact on a generation and more of people he inspired to make the world a better, safer place.
Steven J Baker, President Emeritus, Middlebury/Monterey Institute of International Studies

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