Oral history of British science

Rotblat, Joseph (37 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 37: Talk about JR's family background. Father had transport business using carts and horses, had happy childhood in Warsaw, were well off, describes his home. First world war brought change for worse, moved house with no water or W.C., father's horses requisitioned for Army and his contract with Finland was cut off. JR describes effect of sudden poverty and hardship and the invasion of Poland after the war. His early learning he picked up from teacher for older sister. Now describes survival of family during second world war and story of their hiding. After collapse of father's business JR had to earn money, learned a trade, chose to be electrician, later started on his own and explains how this developed for better and bigger jobs. More talk about JR's father, about anti-Semitism in Poland and about religion. Later JR trained to be a teacher, taught by Infeld who later emigrated to U.S.A. and worked with Einstein. JR talked about his holidays in the country, walking in the Tatras and football.

  • 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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