Oral history of British science

Rotblat, Joseph (24 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 24: In 1957 JR resumed efforts to hold conference - Cyrus Eaton confirmed his offer for Pugwash - explains name 'Pugwash'. New invitations were sent and 22 people accepted. Russell could not go and JR went on his behalf. Mentions other people who came - from 10 countries from both sides of the iron curtain - USA, Russia, Britain, China, France, Poland, Australia, Austria, Japan, Canada. JR explains difficulties of meeting, sequence of events, arrival at Pugwash, accommodation in private houses, food and meals in lobster factory, meetings in Masonic Hall. Cyrus Eaton brought railway carriages to accommodate the Japanese. JR describes Cyrus Eaton and lady friend who were organisers - and the good atmosphere there. Story of Russian (Topchiev) and his translator (Pavlishenko) who was recognised as 'the spy'. The Hungarian - Zereg - JR knew from correspondence, was a unique individual, tells story about him. Russell's recorded message was read out. JR describes agenda: 1. 'hazards of nuclear fallout', he gave first paper, 2. prevention of nuclear arms race, 3. responsibility of scientists. After first sessions they divided into 3 groups, then reported and followed by general discussion on public statement. Describes some difficulties, but agreement was reached and why. It was meeting of scientists who knew each other from literature, trusted each other - integrity. Members came as individuals with an open mind!

  • 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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