The Atomic Heritage Foundation is pleased to partner with the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University and the Federation of American Scientists to host the event, "Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash Conferences."
The event will take place on Tuesday, June 5, from 10 AM until 12 PM, in room 213 at 1957 E St. NW, Washington, DC. Four speakers, Andrew Brown, John Holdren, Matthew Evangelista, and Steven Miller, will focus on the life and legacy of nuclear physicist Joseph Rotblat (1908-2005).
Rotblat worked on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos but left in December 1944 when intelligence sources reported that Germany had not developed an atomic bomb. He dedicated the rest of his life to eliminating the threat of nuclear weapons and was the founder and driving force behind the international Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs for six decades. The program will consider the Pugwash Conferences' contributions to ending the Cold War and reducing the nuclear threat in the post-Cold War world today.
In researching his recently published biography of Rotblat, Keeper of the Nuclear Consicence: The Life and Work of Joseph Rotblat, Andrew Brown had unprecedented access to Rotblat's private papers. Brown will talk about Rotblat's boyhood in Warsaw during the trauma of World War I and rising anti-Semitism afterwards; his narrow escape to England in 1939 and role in the early British atomic project; his early defection from the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos; and his lifelong devotion to the furtherance of peace.
John Holdren will talk about his personal relationship with Rotblat and participation in the Pugwash Conferences beginning in the early 1970s. Upon Rotblat's death, Holdren remarked: "We have lost a towering figure in the struggle for world peace. Joseph Rotblat was one of a kind: brilliant, eloquent, tireless, demanding, impatient, completely committed to the pursuit of a saner, safer world for all its inhabitants."
Matthew Evangelista will examine the unheralded influence of the Pugwash Conferences on the course of the Cold War, helping to prevent a nuclear showdown and nudge the USSR and US governments towards a more peaceful coexistence.
Steven Miller, co-chair of the U.S. Pugwash Committee and a member of the Council of International Pugwash, will discuss the role of the Pugwash Conferences today and the future of nuclear disarmament.