The Half-Life of Leaders

STARTS 2/11/2018 Alice Rotunda

Sunday, February 11 | The Alice Rotunda
Following the 2pm performance of Blind Date

Join the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and Goodman Theatre for a special panel discussion following the 2pm performance of Rogelio Martinez’s Blind Date, a Cold War drama recreating the first meetings between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. The event will touch on the divide between nuclear research and the leaders who decide foreign policy. What happens when enigmatic personalities like Reagan and Gorbachev enter the equation, and how do their past decisions still affect us today? 




Emma Belcher
 (Director of Nuclear Challenges, MacArthur Foundation): Prior to the MacArthur Foundation, Belcher was at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she was a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow. She has also worked as an advisor in Australia’s Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on national security and international affairs, and as a public affairs officer at the Australian embassy in Washington, D.C. She has a background in international security. She serves on the advisory committee of N Square—a five-funder initiative to promote innovation in the nuclear realm. Emma is a co-chair of the Peace and Security Funders Group Steering Committee and a 2014-2016 Emerging Leader at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Rachel Bronson (President and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists): Bronson oversees the publishing programs of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the management of the Doomsday Clock and a growing set of activities around nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, climate change and emerging technologies. Before joining the Bulletin, she served for eight years at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs in a number of capacities. She also taught "Global Energy" as an adjunct professor at the Kellogg School of Management. Bronson served as senior fellow and director of Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Earlier positions include senior fellow for international security affairs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and adjunct professor at Columbia University. 

Eric Isaacs
 (The Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor in Physics; Executive Vice President for Research, Innovation and National Laboratories at the University of Chicago): Eric D. Isaacs also serves as CEO of UChicago Argonne, LLC, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Governors for Argonne National Laboratory and is a member of the Boards for Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Marine Biological Laboratory. Isaacs, the Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor in Physics, previously served as Provost of the University of Chicago from 2014-2016 after serving for five years as Director of Argonne. A condensed matter physicist whose work focuses on quantum materials, Isaacs joined the University and Argonne in 2003 as the founding director of the Center for Nanoscale Materials, after working for 15 years at Bell Laboratories, including terms as director of semiconductor physics research and materials physics research.

Tanya Palmer (Director of New Play Development at Goodman Theatre): At the Goodman, Palmer coordinates New Stages, the theater’s new play program, and has served as the production dramaturg on a number of plays including the world premieres of Vigils by Noah Haidle, Magnolia by Regina Taylor, The Long Red Road by Brett C. Leonard and the Pulitzer Prize–winning Ruined by Lynn Nottage. Prior to her arrival in Chicago, she served as the director of new play development at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she led the reading and selection process for the Humana Festival of New American Plays. She is the co-editor, with Amy Wegener and Adrien-Alice Hansel, of four collections of Humana Festival plays, published by Smith & Kraus, as well as two collections of 10-minute plays published by Samuel French. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, she holds an MFA in playwriting from York University in Toronto.


  • Jan 2018
    Blind Date

    Blind Date

    Jan 20 - Feb 25, 2018 | In the Albert

    Before Twitter, Tinder and 24/7 news, two of history’s most enigmatic leaders—Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev—meet to halt the arms race. A crafty game of one-upmanship ensues, while their wives engage in a passive-aggressive tango over tea. “A fresh and funny talent” (Backstage), playwright Rogelio Martinez “finds new twists on old topics” (Variety) in this compulsively fascinating, slyly comic backstage glimpse of a 20th century landmark event.