Oral history of British science

Rotblat, Joseph (7 of 40). National Life Stories Collection: General

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  • Interviewees

    Rotblat, Joseph, 1908-2005 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Thompson, Katherine (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 7: Liverpool air raids started after Dunkirk, and JR did firewatching at University tower and his experiences. Talk about Hankey project, work on radar, installed AC current. Also taught about fission. In 1940 they established feasibility of atom bomb. Large industrial effect to make bomb --explains why. Huge need of electricity. Set up pilot plant in Wales. Explains how U.S.A. became interested in their work. JR talks about the mistake the Germans made in their efforts to make the bomb. More about work done in U.S.A. Summit meeting in 1943 with McKenzie, Churchill, Roosevelt - and decision to join with British team, Oppenheimer in charge at Los Alamos. Explains why he was supposed to take on British citizenship before joining team at Los Alamos and why he did not want to give up his Polish citizenship in order to be able to go back after the war. Chadwick and others left for U.S. in Dec.43 without JR but 2 weeks later he was allowed to join with his Polish citizenship. He went by sea - got some secret message and how meeting was arranged for him to meet a man.

  • Description

    Nobel Peace Prize-winner and nuclear physicist Joseph Rotblat in conversation about his life and work. A key figure in the development of the atomic bomb, he left the US government's Manhattan Project once it became apparent that Nazi Germany did not have the capability to build a bomb of its own.

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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