Saved by Pugwash

PUBLISHED: 11:55 25 November 2008 | UPDATED: 22:40 15 June 2010

AN AXMINSTER scientist has published a biography on world class physicist Joseph Rotblat, who led an international movement to abolish nuclear weapons.

AN AXMINSTER scientist has published a biography on world class physicist Joseph Rotblat, who led an international movement to abolish nuclear weapons.Kit Hill, of Castle Hill, has released his 80-page book on his colleague and friend of 45 years, who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1995 for his work.Professor Pugwash: The Man Who Fought Nukes tells the story of the Polish scientist, who left his country at the onset of the Second World War to take part in work on the nuclear bomb in Britain - and later changed direction.Mr Hill, who has worked as a professor of physics in the Royal Marsden Hospital and for the Institute of Cancer Research, said the book was aimed at the younger generation and for the non-scientist. He said: "Rotblat had an outstanding life and I thought it was worthy to put down and I do hope it will be inspirational. When I was about 10, reading about scientists such as Marie Curie influenced me."As a person, Rotblat was extremely approachable, able, articulate and very charming and thoughtful. He was very much a man with a mission. He drove himself to try to see out what he felt was a vital thing to do. Everybody who knew him admired and liked him."Work on the atomic bomb was originally carried out to counter a possible German attack. But when Germany was no longer a threat, Rotblat believed it unnecessary and feared it would lead to mass murder. Rotblat was president of a group to help prevent nuclear war which met in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1957, in a fishing village called Pugwash - the Pugwash conference. Secretary of the British group of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, since 1992, Mr Hill believes this was a very influential group. He cites 1962, when nuclear weapons were installed in Cuba by Russia, as an example where the group helped avert nuclear warfare.He said: "I hope people will get from this book a picture of an interesting individual and also a feeling that whatever you do in life has implications for which you are responsible."He acknowledged that Rotblat is probably little-known outside the science world. He said: "It is not in the nature of our society to make a big deal of people who save the world from blowing itself up."Professor Pugwash costs £8.99 and can be bought from Archway Bookshop, in Church Street, Axminster.

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