Oral history of British science

Rotblat, Joseph (8 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 8: JR's arrival in New York and on to Washington where he met General Groves who told him he would go to Los Alamos. Talks about his journey there, the secrecy of travel. Arrival, allocation of 2 rooms, good pay. Chadwick already there. Describes beauty of Los Alamos, the advantages of ordering anything he wanted, meeting scientists he only knew by name, But he was unhappy (1) still unhappy about making the bomb and (2) because General Groves who came to visit said the purpose of the bomb was to subdue the Russians. Shock to JR who regarded the Russians as allies. Also did not like censorship of his letters. A friend of JR's - Elsbeth Grant - suffered from a genetically inherited hearing problem and she was going to be in Santa Fe and wanted JR to write to her. With Chadwick's permission he was allowed to go and see her without checking with Intelligence. He relates how he was able to help her in various ways and on various occasions. While in Los Alamos JR learned to fly - tiger moth -and got licence to fly solo.

  • 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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