Oral history of British science

Rotblat, Joseph (20 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 20: JR worked on data from Japanese and explains how he found reason for difference to his own data. Cockcroft warned him about publicising his data as Americans might think he is a spy. But he explains how Cockcroft later advised him on a formula how to publish his data. His paper appeared in 1955 in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. The labour party became interested, Government tried to stop him to broadcast and he realised implications of political interference. The beginning of anti-nuclear movement. Scientists started to think of conference including Soviet scientists which was not possible under Stalin. An initiative for conference came from Bertrand Russell in Christmas lecture in 1954 which encouraged scientists to do something. They wrote to Einstein who was enthusiastic and he and Russel signed first statement for the idea which became Russel-Einstein manifesto. They managed to enlist Infeld (a Pole) also Jolliot-Curie(Who was a communist) and then Rotblat became signatory. Other signatories were Max Born (from Germany), Cecil Powell and Yukawa from Japan. Then it was made public.

  • 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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