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Joseph Rotblat
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Scientist
    (November 4, 1908-August 31, 2005)
    Born in Warsaw, Poland
    Birth name was Jozef Rotblat
    Nuclear physicist
    Member of the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bomb
    With Bertrand Russell, organized the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (1957)
    Wrote 'Radioactivity and Radioactive Substances' (1953) and 'War No More: Eliminating Conflict in the Nuclear Age' (2003)
    Won the Nobel Peace Prize for work on nuclear disarmament (1995)
    While working in a Warsaw lab where the equipment he needed was located on two different floors, he would literally throw himself down the stairs in order to collect data on time, until he developed stress fractures in his legs.
    Conservatives accused of him being a 'Communist dupe.'
    The Nobel Prize Committee admitted their choice of him was partly a protest against nuclear testing by France and China.
    He said, 'We have been trying for 40 years to save the world, sometimes against the world's wishes.'
    While working as an electrician, he won admission to study physics at the Free University of Poland.
    He left Poland to take a fellowship in England, intending for his ill wife, Tola, to follow a few days later. Instead, Germany invaded Poland and Tola died in the Holocaust.
    He was the only scientist to leave the Manhattan Project on the grounds of conscience, leaving when it became clear that Nazi Germany would be unable to produce an atomic weapon.
    International agreements that grew out of the Pugwash Conferences included the Partial Test Ban Treaty (1963), the Biological Weapons Convention (1972) and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (1972).
    Mikhail Gorbachev said that ideas from Pugwash guided the efforts to thaw the Cold War.
    He said, 'So long as there is a risk from nuclear weapons, that risk is finite. And so long as it is finite, it can be reduced.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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