"The most terrible weapon which the human mind has conceived " was how the Pope described the atom bomb, in an address to members of the Pontifical Academy of Science on Sunday last, February 8.
" What disasters would humanity await from a future conflict,' he asked,• " if it should prove impossible to halt or put a brake upon the use of the newer and more amazing scientific inventions ? "
This was the second time the Pope has spoken about the atom bomb. He spoke for about 35 minutes before an audience of about 400 people, including the worldfamous scientists of the Academy and visiting diplomats and C:ardinals.
Speaking of the work of scientists throughout the ages, the Holy Father quoted St. Augustine on the horrors of war.
" He who suffers them and bears them without anguish in his soul much more wretchedly believes himself happy because he has lost even the human sentiment."
"/e the wars of those days." the Pope continued, " justified such a severe sentence, with what words should we to-day judge those wars which have struck our generation and placed at the service of their work of destruction and exterminations a technique incomparably more advanced ?
A NOBLE TASK " The work of the scientists will not rest until it has discovered an easy and secufe manner of governing the process of fission of the atomic nucelus in such a manner ae to place its rich sources of energy in the progress of civilisation. Could there be a more noble task?"
In the course of his address the Holy Father quoted from the sayings and writings of Aristotle, St. Paul, Dante, Sir Isaac Newton and the Old and New Testaments to show that a true scientific investigation leads to humility and to love and admiration of good as the embodiment of natural law.
Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin, was among the members of the Academy who were present.
This meeting was the first this Papal Academy has held since the outbreak of war and 70 members from 17 different nations were expected to be present. Other British members of the Academy are Professor Arthur Conway, Sir Charles Sherrington and Professor Edmund Whittaker.