Raymond Wilson

Associate Professor of Physics, Emeritus

Personal profile


My explorations began in 1959, initially, teaching high school physics students how to protect themselves in the event of nuclear “exchanges” with the Soviet Union. (You were out of luck if you did not enroll in physics.)  Later, this venture continued whenever my physics students at Illinois Wesleyan University encountered units about nuclear phenomena. When the United States initiated the world’s first nuclear war over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 they utilized the largest releases of energy ever produced by man on this planet. Those were small and primitive nuclear bombs; today the average weapon is some 10-times more powerful. Some of the world’s bombs release more than 1000 times the energy of those first primitive “gadgets.” It was useful for physics students, all students, all of the younger generation, to understand this.  Something was terribly wrong. In the five decades following 1945 the world was creating on average the equivalent of 60 Hiroshima nuclear bombs, every day of those 50 years; 60 on every one of those 18,250 days. Fortunately, the world nuclear arsenal is now one-third what it was in 1986.


  • Physics