Discover how Joseph Rotblat went from creating nuclear bombs to winning the Nobel Peace prize
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The American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is generally considered to be one of the most, if not the most, important events of the 20th century. It succeeded in bringing about Japanese capitulation and the end of the Second World War, but, at the same time, marked the advent of nuclear weapons. For the first time in history, civilisations could be completely wiped off the map with the push of a button. For most, this was a terrifying prospect. For Józef Rotblat, it was a call to action.
In this episode, our hosts will tell you the remarkable story of Józef (Joseph) Rotblat, a nuclear physicist and peace activist. We’ll discuss the suffering he endured in his early life and how this shaped his worldview. We’ll talk about his time at the Manhattan Project and his motivations for leaving. We’ll also talk about Rotblat’s lifelong activism and his enduring legacy.
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[02:00] Joseph Rotblat’s difficult youth
[05:30] Rotblat’s involvement in the Manhattan Project
[10:05] Is it even possible to leave a super secret military project?
[12:00] How Hiroshima and Nagasaki made Rotblat become a vocal peace activist
[16:50] What led to the founding of the Pugwash Conferences?
[19:20] Noble Prize for Rotblat and Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
[21:00] Should scientists take a Hippocratic Oath of some sort?
[24:20] Rotblat’s legacy and contribution to the anti-nuclear movement
Dr. Martin Sherwin / for being so kind and allowing us to interview him during his sabbatical. Martin Sherwin is an American historian whose scholarship mostly concerns the history of the development of atomic energy and nuclear proliferation.
SFTEW Team: Wojciech Oleksiak, Adam Zulawski, Nitzan Reisner, John Beauchamp & Michael Keller