LORD (MARTIN) REES, widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading astronomers and cosmologists, is President of the Royal Society, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge; Royal Society Professor at Cambridge University; the UK Astronomer Royal. He is the author of several books, including Our Final Hour: A Scientist’s Warning: How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind’s Future in this Century—on Earth and Beyond.
“Scientists have had a bad literary press: Dr Frankenstein, Dr Moreau, and especially Dr Strangelove. This lecture commemorates a man who was the utter antithesis of Strangelove. Jo Rotblat was a nuclear scientist. He helped to make the first atomic bomb. But for decades thereafter, he campaigned to control the powers he’d helped unleash.
A year ago, Robert McNamara, age 88, spoke here in this tent — his confessional movie ‘Fog of War’ had just appeared. Jo Rotblat, age 96, was due to be on the platform with him. This might have seemed an incongruous pairing. Back in the 1960s, McNamara was American Secretary of Defense — in charge of the nuclear arsenal. And Rotblat was an antinuclear campaigner. But in old age they converged — McNamara himself came to espouse the aim of eliminating nuclear weapons completely.”