Józef Rotblat, 1995 Nobel Peace Prize winner, dies

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Noted physicist Józef Rotblat, a historic figure who left the Manhattan Project and later became a prominent figure in the movement against the Nuclear Arms Race, has died at the age of 96.

Born in Poland in 1908, he graduated from Warsaw University. Rotblat collaborated with the United States government on the Manhattan Project, which was attempting to construct the world's first atomic bombs. However, Rotblat left the project, the first and only physicist to do so, after realizing that Germany was unlikely to be developing a nuclear weapon of their own.

Rotblat formed the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs organization in 1957. The group promoted nuclear disarmament and greater collaboration between scholars from all over the world to try and prevent major global conflict.

In 1995, Rotblat and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, "for their efforts to diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international politics and, in the longer run, to eliminate such arms." In his acceptance speech, Rotblat noted that the group's goals were entirely doable, noting the close-knit structure of the European Union, "within which war is inconceivable."