The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Aditi Verma is a Visiting Scholar at the Belfer Center’s Project on Managing the Atom and a Research Scientist in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences at the University of Michigan where she will begin an appointment as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2022. Aditi was previously a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at the Belfer Center's Project on Managing the Atom and the International Security Program.
Aditi is broadly interested in how nuclear technologies specifically and complex systems broadly—and their institutional infrastructures—can be designed in more just, equitable, and participatory ways that are epistemically inclusive of both lay and expert perspectives. To this end, she is interested in developing a more fundamental understanding of the early stages of the design process to improve design practice and pedagogy, and also improve the tools with which designers of complex sociotechnical systems work.
Prior to her appointment at the Belfer Center, Aditi worked at the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, where her work, endorsed and funded by policymakers from the NEA member countries, focused on bringing epistemologies from the humanities and social sciences to academic and practitioner nuclear engineering, thus broadening their epistemic core.
Aditi holds undergraduate and doctoral degrees in Nuclear Science and Engineering from MIT. Her doctoral research, funded by the Sloan Foundation and a Spira Fellowship, combined theoretical and methodological resources from design studies and sociology to study how reactor designers make decisions in the foundational early stages of design, particularly those bearing on safety. Aditi has also previously held positions at the International Atomic Energy Agency, Framatome (formerly Areva), and the Center for the Study of Science, Technology and Policy.
Her work, authored for academic as well as policymaking audiences, has been published in Nuclear Engineering and Design, Nature, Nuclear Technology, Issues in Science and Technology, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and Inkstick.Last Updated: Aug 12, 2021, 2:07pm