Vitaly Ginzburg, Russian Nobelist and secular humanist, dies

November 9, 2009

Vitaly Ginzburg.

Vitaly Ginzburg, Russian theoretical physicist, Nobel Laureate, and one of the fathers of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, died of cardiac arrest last night.

He was a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the International Academy of Humanism .

An outspoken and famous Russian atheist, he authored a number of books on religion and atheism, and often spoke out against the encroachment on the secular Russian State by the Russian Orthodox Church. He would refer to himself as a "secular Jew" and a "secular humanist."

From the Associated Press article on his death:

A vehement atheist, Ginzburg strongly opposed the growing role of the Russian Orthodox Church in state affairs after the 1991 Soviet collapse, protesting its attempts to have a say in political and secular matters and introduce religious lessons in schools.

"By teaching religion in schools, these Orthodox scoundrels want to lure away children's souls," he told a Russian newspaper in 2007.

and

Despite his age, Ginzburg remained active as a scientist and public figure. He also was a staunch believer in the global triumph of democracy and "secular humanism" to help overcome such threats as Islamic terrorism, poverty and AIDS.

"I am still inclined to believe in the brilliant future of mankind," he said in the autobiography.

Read the AP story here .

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