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Joseph Rotblat

Early influences in Jo’s life as a scientist

A Polish Jew, Jo Rotblat completed his PhD in physics at the University of Warsaw. In 1939, he obtained a research grant to work under James Chadwick, the discoverer of the neutron, at Liverpool University. Later that year he returned to Warsaw to collect his young Polish wife, but she was too ill to travel and so he had to return to England without her. The next day, Hitler invaded Poland. Jo never saw his wife again.

Jo’s own experiments at the end of the 1930s had shown that the newly-discovered fission process emitted neutrons. He was one of the first to realise that this opened the possibility of a chain reaction. With Chadwick, he went to the Los Alamos in 1943 as part of the British team sent to help with the Manhattan Project.

Six million European Jews are estimated to have been murdered by the Nazis during the Second World War, in what is now called the holocaust.

The word itself comes from the Greek words, "holos" (completely) and "kaustos" (burned sacrificial offering) – and so means complete destruction, usually by fire. By the end of the 17th century, the word came to mean a great slaughter or massacre.

It has been said that the murder of his family in Poland shaped Jo’s view of the social responsibilities of scientists.

Create an argument with justification first in favour, and then against this statement.

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