One of the world’s first nuclear scientists, Joseph Rotblat was a part of the Manhattan Project, developing the atomic bomb. He resigned from the project and spent 50 years working to eliminate nuclear weapons.
When nuclear testing was being conducted in the Bikini Atoll in 1946, the US government assured the local residents that there would be no danger from the nuclear fallout. Joseph Rotblat, who was researching the effects of radiation on the human body at the time, disagreed. Gathering fellow scientists, calling press conferences, etc., he started the ball rolling on what would become the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
In 1957, at the height of the Cold War, he formed the Pugwash Conference, bringing scientists from Russia and the US together, with others from Japan, the UK, Canada, Australia, Austria, China, France and Poland, to discuss the perils of nuclear weapons. As the scientists were respected by their governments back home, and often brought in to advise ahead of negotiations, the Pugwash Conference has been recognized as a quiet force in preventing nuclear disaster on our planet.
We lost Joseph Rotblat in 2005. He was the last surviving signatory on the Russell-Einstein Manifesto calling for an end to nuclear weapons. He had lived his life carrying its message.