<p>The world-famous peace symbol, which turned 50 on April 4, 2008, was the brainchild of a British designer seeking a simple but powerful emblem for an anti-nuclear-weapons march in London in 1958. The symbol, which superimposes the semaphore signals for <i>N</i> (nuclear) and <i>D</i> (disarmament), caught on worldwide and quickly became a universal touchstone for the causes of peace and nonviolence.</p> <p>A new National Geographic book, <i>Peace: The Biography of a Symbol</i> by photographer Ken Kolsbun and journalist Michael S. Sweeney, takes a look at the famous pictogram.</p> <p>Here, a skywritten peace sign drifts above peace activist and folk singer Arlo Guthrie during a 1969 show at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.</p>

Arlo Guthrie

The world-famous peace symbol, which turned 50 on April 4, 2008, was the brainchild of a British designer seeking a simple but powerful emblem for an anti-nuclear-weapons march in London in 1958. The symbol, which superimposes the semaphore signals for N (nuclear) and D (disarmament), caught on worldwide and quickly became a universal touchstone for the causes of peace and nonviolence.

A new National Geographic book, Peace: The Biography of a Symbol by photographer Ken Kolsbun and journalist Michael S. Sweeney, takes a look at the famous pictogram.

Here, a skywritten peace sign drifts above peace activist and folk singer Arlo Guthrie during a 1969 show at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

Photograph by Bettman/CORBIS

Peace Symbol

See photos of the history of the peace symbol, from National Geographic.

Read This Next

86,000 wild mustangs that roam the West are at the center of raging controversy

Prehistoric wild dog found at iconic human fossil site

More 'good fire' could help California control future catastrophes

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet