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University of Liverpool papers, 1936 - 2000

Reference Code: GBR/0014/RTBT 2

Scope and Contents

Important documentation of the post-War development of the Nuclear Physics Research Laboratory survives. There are Rotblat’s notes and correspondence relating to the synchro-cyclotron building project: these cover costs, equipment specifications and building design. Progress reports, architects’ plans and photographs are also included. A good record of his teaching is provided by a series of well-ordered manuscript notes for undergraduate lectures dating from 1939 to 1948. There are also some notes for ‘radio teaching’ and general correspondence and papers covering course planning, undergraduate examination results etc. A sizeable body of general correspondence survives from the second half of the 1940s; of exceptional interest is Rotblat’s correspondence with Chadwick (February 1945-1949) which encompasses a wide range of topics and issues, professional, personal and political. The principal topic is the running of the laboratory and the re-construction work; others include the Nuclear Physics Sub-Committee and national atomic research, the state of Poland, Rotblat’s family matters and his hopes for British citizenship. Further correspondence (1945-1950) is with the Ministry of Supply and the Atomic Energy Research Establishment and largely concerns equipment and staffing needs for photographic emulsion and cyclotron work.


  • Creation: 1936 - 2000

Conditions Governing Access

From the Fonds:

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Biographical / Historical

In August 1939 Rotblat, at the invitation of Sir James Chadwick, took up an Oliver Lodge Fellowship at the University of Liverpool. He first came to work in Liverpool during March that year, leaving his post of Assistant Director of the Atomic Physics Institute at the Free University of Poland. He briefly re-visited Poland shortly before the German invasion in September 1939. Rotblat remained at Liverpool until 1949, holding the positions of Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and, from 1945, Director of Research in Nuclear Physics. In early 1944 he joined Chadwick’s group working on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, New Mexico, but resigned on grounds of conscience and returned to Liverpool in December 1944. During the following years Rotblat oversaw an extensive re-development of the Department of Physics which centred on the building of a synchro-cyclotron for nuclear research. In the post-War years the Nuclear Physics Research Laboratory at Liverpool continued to play a role in the wider progress of atomic research in the UK.


9 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Former / Other Reference



In this section of the Rotblat papers the units of production do not correspond directly to the units of description, e.g. where something is described as a 'folder', this means a bundle of papers enclosed in a fold of acid-free paper. Several of these 'folders' form part of each 'file' or 'unit of production'.

Finding aid date

2012-12-06 09:36:42+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087