Helen Caldicott, a graduate of the University of Adelaide School of Medicine, was a faculty member of Harvard Medical School and in 1974 founded the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at Adelaide Children’s hospital. In 1971 she played a major role in Australia’s opposition to French atmospheric nuclear testing in the Pacific. While at Harvard in the early 1980s, she helped to reinvigorate, as its president, Physicians for Social Responsibility, an organization of 23,000 doctors committed to educating their colleagues about the dangers of nuclear power, nuclear weapons and nuclear war. On trips abroad she helped start similar medical organizations in many other countries; their umbrella group, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. She also founded the Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND) in the US in 1980.
The author or editor of eight books including Nuclear Madness, Missile Envy, and, most recently, Sleepwalking to Armageddon, she has been the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees, the subject of three award-winning documentary films, and was named one of the 20th Century’s most influential women by the Smithsonian Institution.