"...rabid nuclear maniac..."

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by RMC, Dec 4, 2002.

  1. RMC Registered Senior Member

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    I just finished reading Edward Teller's autobiography 'Memoirs, A Twentieth-Century Journey in Science & Politics' [628 pages, Perseus Press - 2001. ISBN:0-7382-0532-x]. I highly recommend this book!

    Say what you will about his politics, but the story of his life is fascinating. I particularly enjoyed his memories of working with Heisenberg (Teller was a grad student under Werner, something I did not know) & the early history of Los Alamos laboratory. Included in an appendix are the transcripts from the hearings in which Oppenheimer lost his security clearance, as well as quite a bit of text explaining why Teller testified the way he did.

    It is clear that Teller is trying to spin a lot of the history covered in the book to make him look less like the person described in the subject line of this post (a description by Tass, the Soviet news agency). But nevertheless, the book is a great read. All of the work Teller did on nuclear reactor design was interesting to read about. This work of his was important &, IMHO, very worthwhile.

    Cheers
     
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  3. lethe Registered Senior Member

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    why did oppenheimer lose his security clearance. wasn t he the director of the whole manhattan project?
     
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  5. RMC Registered Senior Member

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    Yes, he was the director of Los Alamos during the development of the first nuclear weapons, the ones we dropped on Japan (but he, like many scientists who worked on the project, thought we should have detonated the first one off the coast of Japan, as a warning for them to surrender).

    In 1954, during all of the anti-communist insanity, he was charged with being a commie & his security clearance was taken away. He was no longer allowed to do government work. Teller was a long time friend of his, but ended up testifying against Oppenheimer anyway. He did not outright condemn him as a bad person, but nevertheless Teller was demonized by most of the physics community after that.
     
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  7. Gifted World Wanderer Registered Senior Member

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    A pity, really, some say that that led to his early death.
     
  8. lethe Registered Senior Member

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    does he justify his actions in his autobiography? how would this testimony have led to his early death? murdered by einstein?
     
  9. RMC Registered Senior Member

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    "Included in an appendix are the transcripts from the hearings in which Oppenheimer lost his security clearance, as well as quite a bit of text explaining why Teller testified the way he did."
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2002
  10. Gifted World Wanderer Registered Senior Member

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    I've read The making of the Atom Bomb and Dark Sun: the making of the Hydrogen Bomb by Richard Rhodes. What I got from them was that Oppenhiemer was so devestated, that he pretty much just gave up on life. After that, his health just deteriorated to the point that he died.
     

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