Posted by: alison-cullingford | June 6, 2013

86. Scientists in the Quest for Peace: Joseph Rotblat, the Manhattan Project, and the Pugwash Conferences

100 Objects

This week, we explore the work of a remarkable scientist and humanitarian who turned away from work on the atom bomb: Professor Joseph Rotblat (1908-2005).

A pioneer of atomic physics at the Free University of Poland, Jo Rotblat came to Liverpool University in 1939, drawn by the opportunity to work with James Chadwick and his new cyclotron.  Rotblat caught what was to be the last train out of Poland; his wife, Tola, sick with appendicitis, was due to follow, but was unable to leave in time – she later died in a concentration camp.  Chadwick took Rotblat to Los Alamos in 1944 as part of the team working on the Manhattan Project: developing a workable atomic weapon.

However, Joseph Rotblat took the difficult decision to leave the Project later that year.  He had agreed to work on the weapon because of the fear that Nazi Germany would develop theirs first…

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