Helen Caldicott is an Australian physician, who is also both an antinuclear and environmental activist.
Caldicott was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1938. She was inspired as a child by Nevil Shute's nuclear holocaust novel, On the Beach. She attended the University of Adelaide Medical school, earning bachelor of medicine and surgery degrees, the equivalent of an American M.D. Along with her husband William Caldicott, Helen Caldicott practiced medicine in Adelaide. She also spent time at Harvard Medical School, but returned to Australia where she
set up a clinic for cystic fibrosis.
Caldicott has led several successful environmental campaigns. In the 1970s, she worked to ban atmospheric nuclear testing in the South Pacific. She worked to make the Australian public aware of possible and likely consequences of the testing. By similar tactics, Caldicott also accomplished the banning of uranium mining in Australia. She spoke out about the dangers of radiation and nuclear war and
eventually convinced the Australian Council of Trade to pass a resolution not to mine, sell, or transport uranium. This ban lasted from 1975 to 1982.
In 1977, Caldicott and her family moved to the United States, where she and her husband worked at the Children's Hospital Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. Caldicott was the co-founder and president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, which has since grown to over 20,000 members. She
resigned because her beliefs were often too radical for this increasingly moderate organization. During her term, however, she became known as a symbol of opposition to nuclear power and weapons.
Caldicott has written three books: Nuclear Madness: What You Can Do (1978), Missile Envoy (1986), and If You Love This Planet: A Plan To Heal The Earth (1992). These explore, in addition to nuclear power, saving the
planet from other environmental damage such as pollution and ozone layer depletion. Caldicott feels strongly that the United States should follow the example set by Australians and pass laws to push society toward corporate responsibility. She also advocates international agreement and control of natural resources.