Peace prize winner: I am a scientist, not a politician

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Science Editor

The British physicist Joseph Rotblat, the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, yesterday sharply rebuked Jacques Chirac and China's political leaders for hanging on to nuclear weapons.

Ironically, John Major, who was widely tipped as a possible winner, was criticised as a danger to world peace by the man who won the prize.

Professor Rotblat has spent his life campaigning against nuclear weapons - and the award, worth about pounds 635,000, comes 50 years after the first atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Professor Rotblat has worked to build an influential organisation of scientists with specialist nuclear knowledge who could put pressure on offending governments.

Yesterday he called French nuclear testing in the Pacific "an outrage", adding that the prize award was "a message not only to the French but to the Chinese as well".

Professor Rotblat also criticised John Major's adherence to nuclear weapons, saying that while they brought prestige they did not bring security, and he praised Mikhail Gorbachev as the man who had had the courage to end the Cold War. Professor Rotblat also said a nuclear weapon-free world was achievable.

The award goes jointly to Professor Rotblat and to the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs - the organisation founded 40 years ago following the publication in 1955 of the manifesto by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein warning humanity of the perils of thermonuclear warfare. Professor Rotblat, now its president, is the only one of the 11 original signatories still alive. The organisation is influential, but tiny, based incramped offices opposite the British Museum in London.

Professor's brainchild, page 3