`Abolish War Altogether,' Peace Prize Winner Says Physicist Shares Award with Anti-Nuclear Group

By Compiled From News Services | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), December 11, 1995 | Go to article overview

`Abolish War Altogether,' Peace Prize Winner Says Physicist Shares Award with Anti-Nuclear Group


Compiled From News Services, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The only way to rid the world of the threat of nuclear weapons and ensure human survival is to "abolish war altogether," British physicist Joseph Rotblat said Sunday as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.

"Remember your duty to humanity," said the laureate, 87. "I ask the nuclear powers to abandon the out-of-date thinking of the Cold War and take a fresh look."

Rotblat shares the $1.1 million peace prize with his colleagues in the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, the anti-nuclear group he helped found after quitting a team of scientists working to develop the first atomic bomb.

Rotblat was one of 11 winners who received their awards Sunday in glittering ceremonies in the Norwegian and Swedish capitals. The peace prize is awarded in Oslo, and the other five Nobel prizes in Stockholm.

Tradition is king at the Scandinavian ceremonies. The two countries, which usually prefer understatement, reserve their most dazzling pomp and circumstance for banquets in Oslo's finest hotel, the Grand, and in Stockholm's City Hall.

In Stockholm, the Nobel banquet - the social event of the year in Sweden, attended by 1,300 guests - followed a simple ceremony in which the winners received a medal and a diploma from Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Irish poet Seamus Heaney summed up the feelings of many winners with a thank-you speech after the banquet, shortly before guests in Stockholm began dancing to two jazz bands.

Quoting playwright Oscar Wilde, Heaney said the best way to get rid of a temptation was to yield to it. "I'm now yielding to the temptation of the prize, and I believe it is true," the charismatic Dubliner said.

It was an emotional scene when U.S. scientists Martin Perl and Frederick Reines accepted their prizes. The frail-looking Reines, 77, leaned heavily on Perl as they climbed City Hall steps to receive the prize.

The two men won the prize for pioneering experimental contributions to lepton physics. Individually, Perl was recognized for the discovery of the tau lepton and Reines for the detection of the neutrino. …

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