Warsaw university honors Jewish co-creator of the atomic bomb and Nobel winner


WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — A marble plaque commemorating the late Joseph Rotblat, a co-creator of the atomic bomb and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was unveiled at the University of Warsaw.

Rotblat, a Warsaw native, graduated from the university, where the plaque was unveiled Tuesday.

“Joseph Rotblat, who in 1938 defended at our university a doctorate in physics, many years later has become a world symbol of the struggle for peace,” Marcin Palys, the university rector, said at the ceremony.

This reportedly is the first commemoration of Rotblat in Poland. He won the Nobel Prize in 1995 for his opposition to nuclear weapons. Rotblat died in 2005 at 96.

In 1938, Rotblat earned a doctorate in physics from the university. The next year, he and James Chadwick worked on the atomic bomb project in England and later joined the U.S. Manhattan Project. However, in 1944, motivated by ethical reasons, Rotblat retired from his work and, after the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, became an outspoken critic of the use of nuclear weapons and a peace activist.

The Rotblat plaque is next to one dedicated to the late Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, also a graduate of the University of Warsaw.

Recommended from JTA