In Memoriam—Professor Julian Perry Robinson (1941-2020)

April 24, 2020

When COVID-19 strikes close to home.

The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) is saddened to learn of the April 22, 2020 passing of Professor Julian Perry Robinson from COVID-19-related complications. An eminent scholar of chemical and biological warfare (CBW) arms control, Mr. Robinson set a standard for scholarship. His contributions to the field are fundamental and command universal respect across academia, policy, and government.

Robinson held research appointments at the Free University of Berlin, Harvard University, and the University of Sussex. He ended his formal career as Emeritus Professor at Sussex’s Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), where he assisted numerous CBW experts, including by supervising and reviewing doctoral theses. Many scholars having a deeper interest in CBW issues eventually undertook the pilgrimage to SPRU to examine its archives and—if fortunate enough to be so favored—sit with Julian at a nearby pub, where he would pose questions and dispense pearls of insight.

Robinson was a consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). From 1968-1971 he was a member of the research staff at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), where he was a principal contributor to the fundamental 6-volume SIPRI study on The Problem of Chemical and Biological Warfare (1971-1975). Robinson was also a co-convener of the Pugwash Study Group on Implementation of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, and co-directed the Harvard Sussex Program (HSP) on Chemical and Biological Weapons. HSP published the landmark CBW Conventions Bulletin, a primary source on developments emanating from the 1993-1997 Preparatory Commission to Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

CNS thought leaders benefited from fruitful interactions with Robinson over the years, including Dr. Jonathan B. Tucker and Dr. Raymond A. Zilinskas, the first two Directors of CNS’s Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program (CBWNP), along with CNS Distinguished Visiting Scholar Ambassador Robert Mikulak and CNS Non-Resident Scholar Dr. John Hart. For those at CNS and in the broader CBW community who were not fortunate enough to know him personally, Robinson’s commitment to a world free of chemical and biological weapons is a globally shared responsibility that remains to be achieved.

CNS extends its heartfelt condolences to Professor Robinson’s family and friends.

He will indeed be missed.

A commemorative website has been established by family, friends and colleagues at:
Julian Perry Robinson (1941-2020) – Online Memorials.

Dr John Hart is a CNS Non-Resident Scholar in the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program. He headed SIPRI’s Chemical and Biological Security Project from 2005-2018.

Comments Are Closed