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Nobel Prizes awarded

Peace winner sees 'safer world' without nuclear weapons

December 10, 1995
Web posted at: 3:00 p.m. EST (2000 GMT)

OSLO, Norway (CNN) -- British scientist Joseph Rotblat was formally awarded the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday and immediately appealed for a world free of nuclear weapons and an end to war. Speaking after he and his co-laureate, the Pugwash movement that he heads, were presented with the award, Rotblat warned that current nuclear thinking is "a recipe for proliferation" and "a policy for disaster."

nobel prize

"There is no evidence a world without nuclear weapons would be a dangerous world. On the contrary, it would be a safer world."

-- Joseph Rotblat, Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Rotblat is among 11 Nobel Prize winners who were notified in October of their selection. He received his honor in Oslo, Norway. The 10 others were awarded their prizes at ceremonies Sunday in Stockholm, Sweden. Seven of this year's prize-winners were Americans: medicine laureates Edward Lewis and Eric Wieschaus; economics winner Robert Lucas; physicists Martin Pert and Frederick Reines; and chemistry nominees Mario Molina and Frank Sherwood Rowland. They were joined at the Stockholm ceremony by German medicine nominee Christiane Nuesslein-Volhard, Dutch chemistry joint-winner Paul Crutzen and Irish literature laureate Seamus Heaney. Each prize this year carries an award of $1.1 million.

First anti-nuclear protester

The Polish-born Rotblat, 87, worked on the Manhattan Project to prevent a Nazi victory in World War Two, but quit in 1944, the year before the first atomic bombs were dropped on Japan. (145K AIFF sound or 145K WAV sound) Rotblat has said he left the project when it became clear that Hitler would not be able to build the new weapon and because he became convinced it posed a threat to mankind. (120K AIFF sound or 120K WAV sound)

Rotblat has been called the world's first anti-nuclear protester. In his acceptance speech Sunday he urged the world's nuclear powers to "remember your duty to humanity" and eliminate nuclear weapons. "The Cold War is over, but Cold War thinking survives," he said. "There is no evidence a world without nuclear weapons would be a dangerous world. On the contrary, it would be a safer world."

Rotblat Rotblat received the award in a televised ceremony before about 1,000 invited guests, including King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway. Receiving the prize on behalf of the Pugwash movement was secretary-general Francesco Calogero. Rotblat has headed the organization, founded in a Canadian fishing village of the same name in 1957, since 1988. Rotblat has said he will donate his share of the annual peace prize to Pugwash. The movement is dedicated to making scientists more aware of the destructive powers of their inventions, and it has played a key role in several disarmament accords.

Nuclear terrorists

Rotblat said that if the two main nuclear powers -- the United States and the former Soviet Union -- continue efforts to reduce their arsenals, "all nuclear warheads could be dismantled in a little over 10 years from now." Later, in an interview televised around the world, Rotblat told CNN's Jonathan Mann "the main danger now is from terrorists." (170K AIFF sound or 170K WAV sound)

In his acceptance speech, Rotblat also said the 18-year prison sentence given Israeli scientist Mordechai Vanunu, jailed in 1988 after revealing secrets of Israel's nuclear program, was "disproportionately severe." Rotblat indicated he considered Vanunu's action an act of courage.

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