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Leyatt Betre completed her PhD in Security Studies at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs in August 2022. Leyatt's research primarily engages questions of state-science entanglements during the Cold War, the politics of weapons development, nuclear arms control, and the history of disarmament advocacy in the Global South. Prior to entering graduate school, Leyatt received her SB degree in Physics and Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she conducted research in both the Security Studies Program and the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. Leyatt is now a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University.

Research Interests


My dissertation examines the work of technical communities engaged in weapons research and development in the United States and the Soviet Union during the decades leading up to and spanning the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. The goal of this work is to understand the ways in which promissory claims about the technical capabilities and operational purposes of novel weapons systems both reflected and affected the specific processes that led to their development, as well as how these claims served either to inoculate or expose nascent R&D channels to opposition from contemporary arms control efforts. As part of my broader research agenda, I also study the role of disarmament advocacy in the ideational and institutional development of the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War.



Assistant in Instruction (AI), Science and Global Security: From Nuclear Weapons to Cyberwarfare and Artificial Intelligence (WWS/MAE 353, Spring 2019 and Spring 2020). This course provides students with a basic technical understanding of some of the critical technologies that are relevant to national and global security and will equip students with the skills to better assess the challenge of developing effective policies to manage such technologies. Case studies include nuclear weapons and their proliferation, nuclear and radiological terrorism, space weapons, biosecurity and cyberwarfare.