'A towering figure in the search for peace'

Joseph Rotblat, a physicist who campaigned against nuclear arms and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, has died, his spokesperson said Thursday. He was 96.

Rotblat and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, the group he founded to help rid the world of atomic arms, received the prestigious prize in 1995.

The group said Rotblat died peacefully in his sleep in London on Wednesday night.

MS Swaminathan, president of the Pugwash Conferences, said Rotblat was a scientist who tried to make the world a safer and more peaceful place.

“Joseph Rotblat was a towering figure in the search for peace in the world, who dedicated his life to trying to rid the world of nuclear weapons, and ultimately to rid the world of war itself,” he said.

The selection by the Oslo, Norway-based Nobel committee of Rotblat and his group left many observers scratching their heads at who they were.

The committee said Rotblat and his group were honoured for their efforts to “diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international politics and in the longer run to eliminate such arms”.

They have worked to get scientists to “take responsibility for their inventions” out of a “desire to see all nuclear arms destroyed and, ultimately, in a vision of other solutions to international disputes than war”, the Nobel citation read.

Rotblat himself, in previous interviews, was surprised and delighted by the honour, saying that it gave his group more importance.—Sapa-AP

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