WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Columbia University professor Paul Richards, a member of the U.S. delegation that helped negotiate a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty in 1994, will talk about disarmament in a public lecture on Monday, Sept. 18, at Whitman College.

His talk, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7:30 p.m. in Gaiser Auditorium in the Science Building.

Richards, who also plans to visit a number of Whitman classes, has titled his public lecture "The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty: Its Recent History, Status and Prospects."

During the Cold War, when an arms control treaty was an objective of all U.S. presidents, nuclear weapons were tested about once a week for 40 years. The treaty was finally negotiated and signed by the U.S. in 1996. More than 150 nations have also signed.

Richards, who in 1994 was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, will talk about a number of issues in his Whitman presentation. Those issues include why the U.S. Senate voted against ratification in 1999, what lies ahead and what remains at stake.

Richards, who earned his Ph.D. in geophysics at the California Institute of Technology, has been on the Columbia faculty since 1971. A professor of natural sciences and earth/environmental sciences, Richards focuses his research on the theory of seismic wave propagation and the use of seismological methods to study underground nuclear explosions, and the implications in both scientific and political worlds.

His visit to Whitman is sponsored by the campus Phi Beta Kappa chapter and the President's Office.