Rotblat Event
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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."

 guest house


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. 

Biographies of the Speakers   
guest houseDr. Andrew Brown is a radiation oncologist. His interest in the 20th century history of science has led him to write three biographies of important Cambridge scientists. The Neutron and the Bomb: a Biography of Sir James Chadwick (1997), J. D. Bernal: the Sage of Science (2005), and Keeper of the Nuclear Conscience (2012) were published by Oxford University Press. These books examine the influence of scientists on political leaders. Keeper of the Nuclear Conscience received very positive reviews in both The Wall Street Journal and The Economist.

Dr. John Holdren is Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He is the former chair of the Executive Committee of Pugwash and delivered the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance lecture on behalf of Pugwash in 1995. Trained in aerospace engineering and theoretical plasma physics at MIT and Stanford, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a foreign member of the Royal Society of London and a former President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Prior to joining the Obama administration, he was a professor in both the Kennedy School of Government and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard, as well as Director of the Woods Hole Research Center. 


Dr. Matthew Evangelista is the President White Professor of History and Political Science at Cornell University. Evangelista's current teaching and research interests focus on the relationship between gender, nationalism, and war; ethical and legal issues in international law; transnational relations; and separatist movements. He is a prolific author and recently published Gender, Nationalism, and War: Conflict on the Movie Screen with Cambridge University Press. His 2002 Unarmed Forces examined the impact of the Pugwash Conferences on the course of the Cold War. 

Dr. Steven Miller is Director of the International Security Program at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly journal, "International Security," and co-editor of the International Security Program's book series, Belfer Center Studies in International Security. Previously, he was Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and taught Defense and Arms Control Studies in the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is co-author of the 2002 monograph, War with Iraq: Costs, Consequences, and Alternatives, and editor or co-editor of more than two dozen books, including Going Nuclear (2010) and Contending with Terrorism (2010). 

You can RSVP here, and read more about the event on our website here. You can also download our flyer about the event here.


We hope you can join us on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 for what promises to be a terrific program.



Atomic Heritage Foundation