Declaration of 18 Nobel Laureates Against Nuclear Weapons – 1955

Declaration of 18 Nobel Laureates Against Nuclear Weapons – 1955

Among the original 18 signatories of the Mainau Declaration were prominent scientists Max Born, Otto Hahn, Lavoslav (Leopold) Ruzicka, George Hevesy, Arthur H. Compton, Frederick Soddy and Werner Heisenberg.

On July 15, 1955, a declaration was signed by eighteen Nobel laureates against the use of nuclear weapons. The declaration was compiled by renowned scientists Otto Hahn and Max Born, and was signed by 16 other Nobel Prize winners. The declaration was signed and published at a meeting of Nobel laureates held every year in the German cities of Lindau and Mainau. The tradition of holding these meetings has lasted until today, and began in 1951 at the instigation of two German scientists who attracted the attention of Prince Lennart Bernadotte, also known as the Count of Wisborg. This prince was the grandson of Swedish King Gustav V of the Bernadotte dynasty, meaning he had influential connections in Sweden, the country where the Nobel Prize was awarded. In addition, Prince Lennart Bernadotte owned a castle on the island of Mainau in Lake Constance, which was an attractive place for visits and gatherings. Lindau, located on Lake Constance, not far from the three borders of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, was chosen as the location for the Nobel laureates’ meetings.

The mentioned annual Nobel laureates usually last a week, and on the last day the guests visit the island of Mainau, where the mentioned castle of the Bernadotte family is located. The island of Mainau is 40 kilometers away from Lindau and is also connected to the mainland by a bridge. Guests from Lindau to Mainau usually travel by boat, which is an attractive excursion in the summer months. The original 18 signatories to the Mainau Declaration were Max Born, Otto Hahn, Lavoslav (Leopold) Ruzicka, Kurt Alder, Fritz Lipmann, George Hevesy, Adolf Butenandt, Arthur H. Compton, Gerhard Domagk, Hideki Yukawa, Hans von Euler-Chelpin, Frederick Soddy, Werner Heisenberg, Richard Kuhn, Paul Hermann Müller, Hermann Joseph Muller, Wendell M. Stanley, and Hermann Staudinger. Subsequently, the declaration was signed by 34 other Nobel laureates, so that the total number of signatories grew to 5

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