Scientists for Sakharov, Orlov and Shcharansky (SOS), formerly known as Scientists for Shcharansky, is a private non-governmental organization created by a group of physicists at the University of California, Berkeley. It came into existence in the summer of 1978 in response to the arrests of Yuri Orlov and Natan (Anatoly) Shcharansky. There was a great deal of concern in the scientific community over the numerous violations of human rights affecting fellow scientists in many parts of the world. In response to these concerns, an effort was made to help individual scientists who were persecuted by their governments and to address the question of human rights in the broader context of scientific freedom and scientific exchange and international cooperation.
Within a short time the SOS developed into a nationwide organization with a membership of 2,400 scientists including 13 Nobel laureates, 113 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and presidents of 20 major scientific societies. The name of Soviet scientist and Nobel laureate Andrei Sakharov was added later after his exile to the city of Gorky in January 1980.
As a result of the efforts of the U.S. government during the 1980s and the work of SOS, Andrei Sakharov was freed from his internal exile and Yuri Orlov was released from a Siberian work camp and allowed to emigrate in October 1986 as part of a swap that freed U.S. journalist Nicholas Daniloff and accused Soviet spy Gennadi Zakharov; he then went on to establish a successful academic career at Cornell University. Natan (Anatoly) Shcharansky, who was imprisoned by the KGB for his work on behalf of the Jewish emigration movement and released in 1986, now serves as Minister of Industry and Trade for Israel.
From the guide to the Scientists For Sakharov, Orlov And Shcharansky Records, 1975-2010, (Hoover Institution Archives)