THE AWARD of the Nobel Prize for Peace to Joseph Rotblat and to the Pugwash Copnferences on Science and World Affairs delivers a powerful message: Nuclear proliferation remains a danger that survived the Cold War and must be addressed.
Campaigners for nuclear disarmament won Nobel Peace Prizes in 1962 and in 1985. This third award shows arms control and nonproliferation are still vivid in the world's imagination.
The chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Peace Committee called the award "a sort of protest against testing of nuclear weapons and nuclear arms in general." France and China are testing such weapons this year, India and Pakistan almost certainly have them and Iraq was developing them but claims to have stopped.
Professor Rotblat has noted that scientists "are responsible for the impact of their work on society," and are obliged "to do something if they feel this impact could be detrimental to the community."
The Polish-born professor, alone among scientists, quit the Manhattan Project developing the atomic bomb in New Mexico when he saw Hitler's Germany would not develop it and would lose World War II. He was banned from this country as a security risk the next two decades. He anticipated, if he did not originate, the doctrine of nuclear deterrence.
Professor Rotblat helped found such organizations as the Stockholm Internatonal Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), whose research is respected by experts of all views, and the once-boisterous Committee for Nuclear Disarmament in Britain. He helped launched the Pugwash conferences in 1955.
The conference took place at Pugwash, the Nova Scotia birthplace of the controversial Ohio industrialist, Cyrus Eaton, who underwrote it. Future meetings survived Mr. Eaton, with Professor Rotblat as chairman.
There are other perils and weapons arising from scientific discovery. Pugwash concerns can be seen more clearly in the absence of the Cold War. Professor Rotblat continues his research into peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
This award honors the first as well as one of the last surviving of those scientists who raised the alarm over what they had done. It also financially supports an institution that, like this founder, is still going strong.