DETECTING THE BOMB: The Role of Seismology in the Cold War

Carl Romney
New Academia Publishing, 2009
324 Pages, 36 Illustrations
ISBN 978-0-9818654-3-0 Paperback

For BULK ORDERS, order directly from New Academia Publishing.

About the Author

Dr. Carl Romney was instrumental in devising systems that provided vital intelligence on the progress of the secret Soviet nuclear weapons program during the Cold War.

For his contributions, he earned the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service under Johnson (1967), and the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive under Carter (1980).  He is a two-time recipient of the Department of Defense’s Distinguished Civilian Service Award (1964 and 1979), and he earned the Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Award (1959). In 1996 he was inducted into the U.S. Air Intelligence Agency Hall of Honor.  He and his wife Barbara live just outside of Washington, DC.

About the book

Detecting the Bomb examines how the United States developed the seismic component of the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System.  What led leaders of Western and Eastern nations to the realization that a nuclear test ban could be of mutual interest?  Why did the USSR insist that underground explosions could be adequately distinguished from earthquakes and safely monitored without verification systems on their territory, and why did the United States vigorously disagree?  Dr. Romney answers these questions while laying out the principles of scientific detection and reliable discrimination.


“This is the most comprehensive book on the coevolution of seismology and nuclear test detection capabilities. It is indispensable reading for anyone interested in the interactions between science and international affairs, but in particular to geoscientists, historians of science, Cold War historians, and arms control experts.”
– Kai-Henrik Barth, Visiting Assistant Professor, Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service in Qatar.

“As an indispensable first-hand contribution to the history of nuclear weapons, Carl Romney’s memoir Detecting the Bomb furnishes a insider’s view into the successful negotiation of the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty, which ended atmospheric nuclear weapons tests.”
–Dennis M. Gormley, Senior Fellow, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Washington, D.C.