Thursday, 16 December 2010

Rotblat-a leader with a 'powerful vision'

Pugwash founder and former President Joseph Rotblat is featured on the GiANT Impact website for global business leaders, as a leader who "finished strong" and who had a powerful vision to fulfill. So true. He worked tirelessly to the end of his days to try to create conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.

I found this site cheering on a day when the New York Times has run a story (available here) about the Obama Administration's revision to guidance on what people should do in the event of a nuclear explosion. Rotblat, when asked what one should do in the event of a nuclear explosion, famously said, "Run toward it."
Here is a photo of Prof at the 1999 Student Pugwash USA 20th anniversary international conference. In the later years of his life he prioritized speaking with student and young people.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Pugwashites Mentioned at DC Symposium on Science and Nuclear Disarmament

I just came across this Physics Today blog post by Charles Day, in which he mentions that at a recent AAAS/Japan Society for the Promotion of Science meeting, discussion highlighted several Pugwashites (Rotblat, Konuma, Yukawa, Tomonaga, Perkovich) and the impact of scientists on nuclear disarmament. Interesting mention is made by Konuma that two early Japanese Pugwashites were among the first to say that possession of nuclear weapons by some states is intrinsically unstable and can lead to an arms race.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Russian Quest for Peace & Democracy

Canadian Pugwashite Metta Spencer has published a new book, The Russian Quest for Peace, which is based on decades of research and interviews. Her website contains many photos and interview transcripts, including from Pugwashites. I will post more later when I have a chance to absorb some of this fantastic material.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Carl Djerassi describes his experiences at Pugwash Conferences

I just came across an interesting video clip of chemist Carl Djerassi. It is one of 3 short videos in which he discusses his involvement in Pugwash. I like this clip in particular because it gives the flavor of participating in Pugwash Conferences. He shares his first-hand experience with dialogue across divides that is the cornerstone of Pugwash meetings.

He says he presented at the 1969 Pugwash Conference in Sochi what he considered to be one of his most important papers on birth control. Djerassi also reflects on getting tear gassed at a Pugwash meeting in Warsaw...

Click on this link here to go to the video clip.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Strangest Dream Nominated for Gemini Award

Pugwash congratulates Eric Bednarski and Barry Cowling,
who received the prestigious Gemini Award!! A news clip is available here.

The Strangest Dream, by the National Film Board of Canada, has been nominated for a Gemini Award, Canada's highest award for films, in the best writing for a documentary category. Congrats go to Eric Bednarski and Barry Cowling for this honor. We will keep our fingers crossed for the November decision. The Strangest Dream provides a thoughtful and creative introduction to Pugwash, and provides a wonderful overview of the life of Jo Rotblat.

The film is now available online in its entirety for for free.

You can watch it on your computer in full screen format if you click on the rectangle in the lower right for "toggle to full screen." Here are some images from the December 2008 European launch of the film at the BAFTA theatre in London. (Sandy Butcher and Director E. Bednarski; Producer Kent Martin, Pugwash President Jayantha Dhanapala, E. Bednarski, and British Pugwash Chair John Finney)

Friday, 6 August 2010

Women of the First Pugwash Conference

The talk I gave at Thinkers' Lodge on the role of Ruth Adams and Anne Kinder Jones (later, Anne Eaton) at the first Pugwash Conference is now available here.

It was a real honor to highlight the contributions of these amazing women, and as always, it was a pleasure to spend time in Pugwash, with members of the Eaton family, the Pugwash Park Commission, the Pugwash Peace Exchange, and so many other wonderful people.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Asteroid Rotblat

22645 Rotblat

Discovered 1998 July 26 by the Lowell Observatory Near Earth Object Search at the Anderson Mesa Station. ...

Athem Alsabti (Iraqi Pugwash) and Edward Bowell of Lowell Observatory worked together for this designation, which was granted in December 2009.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Bikini Atoll, nuclear tests site - UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Bikini Atoll, nuclear tests site - UNESCO World Heritage Centre: "In the wake of World War II, in a move closely related to the beginnings of the Cold War, the United States of America decided to resume nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean, on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall archipelago. After the displacement of the local inhabitants, 67 nuclear tests were carried out from 1946 to 1958, including the explosion of the first H-bomb (1952). Bikini Atoll has conserved direct tangible evidence that is highly significant in conveying the power of the nuclear tests, i.e. the sunken ships sent to the bottom of the lagoon by the tests in 1946 and the gigantic Bravo crater. Equivalent to 7,000 times the force of the Hiroshima bomb, the tests had major consequences on the geology and natural environment of Bikini Atoll and on the health of those who were exposed to radiation. Through its history, the atoll symbolises the dawn of the nuclear age, despite its paradoxical image of peace and of earthly paradise. This is the first site from the Marshall Islands to be inscribed on the World Heritage List."

Bikini Atoll Linked with Pugwash History

On 31 July the Bikini Atoll was added to the World Heritage list. The atmospheric testing of hydrogen bombs here led to the first meeting of Bertrand Russell and Jo Rotblat at a BBC studio in April 1954. They were asked to explain the technical aspects and possible impact of the little understood technology following the 1 March Castle Bravo test, which went awry and doused a Japanese fishing vessel, the Lucky Dragon. Their meeting led directly to the Russell-Einstein manifesto of July 1955, and to the first Pugwash Conference in July 1957. Today the crater remains one of the world's symbols of the excesses of the Cold War and a reminder that there is still a long way to go to eradicate these powerful weapons

Monday, 26 July 2010

Pugwash History Featured on Blog

Adele Wick has published a post about the first Pugwash Conference. Please see, "Peace and Pugwash: the 1957 Conference" by clicking here.

And stay tuned, I will soon provide a link to my recent talk on the "Women of the First Pugwash Conference" at Thinkers' Lodge.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Pugwash history to be explored at July Conference

This exciting conference in Halifax Nova Scotia includes a day at the historic Thinkers' Lodge in Pugwash. It includes multiple sessions on the Pugwash history and nuclear weapons issues, in addition to other topics related to peace education and engaging young people. Director of the Pugwash History Project Sandra Ionno Butcher and several members of Canadian Pugwash are featured speakers. Pugwash history topics to be addressed include: the role of women at the first conference (featuring Ruth Adams and Anne Kinder Jones, later Anne Eaton); the imperative of dialogue in times of crisis; and insights into the bravery and perspectives of the participants at the first conference, as shared by Ru Ling Susie Chou, daughter of Chou Pei Yuan, and members of Cyrus Eaton's family. To register, go to the conference website.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Thinkers' Lodge Renovations

Thinkers' Lodge, where the first Pugwash Conference took place due to the generosity of Cyrus Eaton, has been undergoing restoration.

A short story on this from CBC News is available here.

John Eaton tells me they are very pleased with the restoration so far....

The photo above is from July 2009, when the International Student/Young Pugwash board were the last group to stay at Thinkers' Lodge prior to the renovations (I was invited as a resource person). You can see the beginning hints of work on the chimneys.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Joseph Rotblat on Charlie Rose, 1996

To see an interview with Joseph Rotblat on the Charlie Rose show in 1996, please click here.

"A discussion with Nobel Peace Prize-winning physicist Joseph Rotblat, the only scientist to leave the Manhattan Project before the A-bomb was tested. He talks about his signing of the historic Russell-Einstein Manifesto, which called for the end to all nuclear weapons and was the beginning of Rotblat's fifty year fight for total nuclear disarmament."

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Russell at the 1962 Pugwash Conference - Video

Just came across this wonderful short video from the London 1962 Pugwash Conference...

Here's what Russell said about this conference in his autobiography:

The Pugwash movement now seems to be firmly established and part of the respectable progress of scientific relations with international affairs. I myself have had little to do directly with its progress in the last years. My interest turned to new plans towards persuading peoples and Governments to banish war and in particular weapons of mass extermination, first of all nuclear weapons. In the course of these fresh endeavours, I felt that I had become rather disreputable in the eyes of the more conservative scientists. The Pugwash movement held a great meeting of scientists from all over the world in London in September 1962. I was to speak about the founding of the movement and I warned my friends that I might be hissed--as I was fully convinced that I should be. I was deeply touched by being given a standing ovation when I rose to speak which included, I was told, all the participants, all, that is, save Lord Hailsham. He was present in his capacity as the Queen's Minister of Science. He was personally, I think, friendly enough to me, but, weighed down by office, he sat tight. That was the last occasion on which I have taken public part in a Pugwash conference.(1)

(1) The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell. Vol III, 1944-1969, Simon, 1969, p. 111.