Cyrus Eaton, a successful industrialist and native of Pugwash, Nova Scotia, read the Russell-Einstein Manifesto with great interest. Eaton’s success in the business world belied his great desire to “do good in the world.” Eaton had always been a firm believer in education, and in the power of education to enable people to change the world. He had held previous conferences at his Lodge in Pugwash. In 1955, he hosted a conference of university presidents and professors from Canada, the US and the UK, including Julian Huxley. In 1956, he hosted representatives from 11 countries, focusing on the problems of the Middle East, including the Suez Crisis.
Eaton’s humanitarian spirit was inspired by the Russell-Einstein Manifesto. He decided to write to Russell, inviting any interested scientists to meet at his lodge in Pugwash, Nova Scotia to discuss the implications of this manifesto and of the nuclear threat. In a sign of his generosity and support, he offered to underwrite all costs of the gathering.
On July 6, 1957 twenty-two international scientists met in thevillage of Pugwash. They came representing only themselves, not their countries. They held a free discussion, and by the time they parted on July 10th, they had resolved to meet again. In the interest of continuity, it was decided that these meetings should be identified by the name Pugwash. The Pugwash Movement was born, and would evolve into The Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.
In 1995, the work of the Pugwash Conferences and one of the last of its surviving founders, Joseph Rotblat, were honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize. The conferences continue to be held to this day, continuing to strive for peace. Joseph Rotblat’s Nobel medallion will be on display at the Pugwash Peace Exchange facility, as a source of inspiration for all those who wish to learn how to continue his legacy.