1995 Nobel Peace laureate Joseph Rotblat to speak tonight at McGill University


The 1995 Nobel Peace laureate and co-founder of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, Professor Joseph Rotblat, will deliver a free public lecture at McGill University tonight. The 87 year old physicist, often called the world’s first nuclear protestor, will talk on Preservation of Humankind in the Nuclear Age at 7:00 p.m. in the Palmer Howard Theatre. The hall is located on the fifth floor of the McIntyre Medical Building at 3655 Drummond Street.

A pioneer of nuclear radiation in his native Poland, Rotblat went to Liverpool University in 1939 to work with James Chadwick, discoverer of the neutron. He then moved to the Manhattan Project in the United States to help develop the world’s first atomic bomb. However, in 1944 Rotblat quit - the only scientist to do so - when he learned that the bomb was being built to threaten the Soviet Union, then an ally, and not Germany. After the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Rotblat turned against nuclear weapons and joined Einstein, Russell and eight other distinguished scientists in signing a 1955 manifesto calling for a nuclear-free world and an end to war. The manifesto became the basis for an international conference of scientists in 1957 in the small Nova Scotia village of Pugwash. Since then, annual Pugwash Conferences have brought together leading scholars and public figures to discuss the dangers of armed conflict and to seek cooperative solutions to global problems. These meetings have been credited with having significant influence on the development of the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963, the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968, the Anti-Ballistic Treaty of 1972, the Biological Weapons Treaty of 1972, and the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993. Asked by Russell to be the initial chair of the Conference, Rotblat served as executive director for the next seventeen years. In science, he has devoted the rest of his career, at the Univerity of London and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College to nuclear medicine, determined that his research would only benefit humanity and have no possible application to weaponry.

Professor Alan Shaver, Dean of the Faculty of Science, one of the organizers of the lecture, is proud to host Professor Joseph Rotblat at McGill: "His presence links us to a venerable tradition of peace loving scientists who are deeply concerned about the world and the use of science for beneficial purposes. Professor Rotblat is a living embodiment of the ideal role model, an excellent scientist and a devoted worker for peace." Other organizing parties are McGill Student Pugwash, the Science Undergraduate Society, and the Physics Department.

Media representatives are also invited to a reception for Professor Rotblat which will be held in the McIntyre Medical Building immediately following the talk and discussion period.