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H-Bomb Pioneer Edward Teller Dead at 95

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by 23578, Sep 10, 2003.

  1. 23578

    23578 Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 2, 2000 Messages: 2,521 Likes Received: 0
  2. 23578

    23578 Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 2, 2000 Messages: 2,521 Likes Received: 0
    the above is a review of his autobiography, with focus on one of the significant moments in his life, when testified his former boss, robert oppenheimer, was a communist spy.

    the following is the AP line from The Globe and Mail:

    UPDATED AT 7:30 AM EDT Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2003

    Edward Teller, 95

    Associated Press

    San Francisco — Edward Teller, a member of the Manhattan Project that created the first atomic bomb and who later emerged as the foremost champion of the vastly more destructive hydrogen bomb, has died. He was 95.

    Mr. Teller, dubbed the "father of the H-bomb" and a key advocate of the anti-missile shield known as "Star Wars," died Tuesday at his home on the Stanford University campus.

    Mr. Teller was a tireless advocate of a vigorous United States defence policy during and after the Cold War, urging development of advanced weapons as way to deter war.

    "The second half of the century has been incomparably more peaceful than the first, simply by putting power into the hands of those people who wanted peace," he told a forum on the 50th anniversary of the atomic bomb attacks on Japan.

    Mr. Teller's staunch support for defence stemmed in part from two events that shaped his view of world affairs — the 1919 communist revolution in his native Hungary and the rise of Nazism while he lived in Germany in the early 1930s.

    Witty and personable, with a passion for playing the piano, Mr. Teller nevertheless was a persuasive Cold Warrior who influenced presidents of both parties.

    In 1939, he was one of three scientists who encouraged Albert Einstein to alert President Franklin Roosevelt that the power of nuclear fission — the splitting of an atom's nucleus — could be tapped to create a devastating new weapon.

    He would later quip that he often believed the only reason he became involved was "because I was the only one who knew how to drive and had a car to get us there."

    Two years later, even before the first atom bomb was completed, fellow scientist Enrico Fermi suggested that nuclear fusion — fusing rather than splitting nuclei — might be used for an even more destructive explosive, the hydrogen bomb.

    Mr. Teller's enthusiasm and pursuit of such a bomb won him the title "father of the H-bomb," a characterization he said he hated. The first megaton H-bomb was exploded in 1952.

    The H-bomb was never used in war, but atom bombs were dropped on Japan's Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some scientists had suggested at the time that a bomb be exploded in the sky kilometres over Tokyo harbor in hopes of scaring Japan into surrendering with a minimum of casualties.

    "I think we shared the opportunity and the duty, which we did not pursue, to find ... a possibility to demonstrate" the bomb, Mr. Teller said at the anniversary forum. "Now, in retrospect, I have a regret."

    Among honors he received were the Albert Einstein Award, the Enrico Fermi Award and the National Medal of Science and, in July, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    Mr. Teller also will be remembered for his role in destroying the career of his one-time boss, Robert Oppenheimer — which alienated Mr. Teller from many of his colleagues.

    He contended that Mr. Oppenheimer, who had directed the Manhattan Project, had slowed development of the H-bomb, allowing the Soviet Union to catch up. The allegations became the basis for the most serious charges brought against Mr. Oppenheimer in 1954 when his security clearance was lifted.

    In his memoirs, published in 2001, Mr. Teller remained critical of Mr. Oppenheimer but said he was stupid to testify against him. Mr. Teller also said he was motivated not by Mr. Oppenheimer's opposition to the hydrogen bomb, but by the way Mr. Oppenheimer had treated another man.

    Mr. Teller was born Jan. 15, 1908, in Budapest. He received his university education in Germany, earning a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Leipzig.

    In 1935, Mr. Teller and his wife, Mici, came to the United States, where Mr. Teller was a professor at George Washington University until 1941, the same year the Tellers became U.S. citizens.

    Mr. Teller joined the Manhattan Project in 1942 at Los Alamos (N.M.) Scientific Laboratory to work on developing the first atomic bomb. He also promoted the hydrogen fusion bomb, a concept that attracted interest but remained secondary to the work on the atomic weapon.

    After the success of the Manhattan Project, Mr. Teller left in 1946 to become a physics professor at the University of Chicago.

    When the Soviets tested their first atomic bomb in 1949, he persuaded the Truman administration to push ahead on H-bomb research. He returned to Los Alamos and worked on the bomb through the first megatonne-scale explosion at Eniwetok in the Pacific in 1952.

    At the same time, he pushed for the creation of a second national science lab — the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He became a consultant there in 1952, associate director in 1954 and director from 1958-60. He continued as a consultant at the lab after retiring in 1975.

    "He put his heart and soul into this laboratory and into ensuring the security of this nation, and his dedication never foundered," said Michael Anastasio, director of the lab.

    In 1983, Mr. Teller persuaded president Ronald Reagan that space-based laser weapons could provide a secure anti-missile defence. Mr. Reagan bought the idea and proposed the multibillion-dollar Strategic Defence Initiative, dubbed "Star Wars."

    Computer experts raised doubts early on about the reliability of the complex software required for a Star Wars system. But even as the evidence mounted that Star Wars would cost billions more than originally expected and would take years longer to develop, Mr. Teller continued to support it.

    "The danger for ballistic missiles in the hands of 18 different nations has increased, and will increase, unless we have a defence," he said. "If we want to have stable, peaceful conditions, defence against sudden attack by rockets is more needed than ever."

    Mici Teller, his wife of 66 years, died in 2000. He leaves his son, Paul, his daughter, Wendy Teller, four grandchildren and a great grandchild.

    In his autobiography Memoirs: A Twentieth-Century Journey in Science and Politics, Mr. Teller said he was often asked whether he regretted having worked on the atomic and hydrogen bombs.

    "My answer is no. I deeply regret the deaths and injuries that resulted from the atomic bombings, but my best explanation of why I do not regret working on weapons is a question: What if we hadn't?"
  3. TEARZ

    TEARZ Guest

    what if we hadn't?

  4. wa5te_pHk

    wa5te_pHk Junior Member

    Joined: Oct 14, 2002 Messages: 203 Likes Received: 0
  5. KaBar2

    KaBar2 Senior Member

    Joined: Jun 27, 2003 Messages: 2,126 Likes Received: 64

    Don't be hasty. A considerable portion of the Third World only has electric lights because of nuclear energy, because it's too expensive to burn fossil fuel. Except for the American anti-nuke energy movement, we'd be using nuclear electricity-generating plants here now.

    The Nazis and the Communists both were working around-the-clock trying to invent nuclear weapons. I read that we were only weeks, months, at best, ahead of the Nazis, who were working on a hydrogen bomb. If the U.S. had not created one, we would have shortly been facing Hitler's armies armed with battlefield hydrogen weapons. Instead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki being the unlucky test range, it might have been London.

    The idea that "nobody should have dropped one" won't hunt. That wasn't a choice. It was either them or us, and frankly, I'm glad we're not speaking German, Japanese or Russian now. It's easy for us to feel self-righteous about it. But my father heard the news while laying in a military hospital in San Antonio, and when they announced that they had dropped a new kind of atomic bomb on Japan, all the wounded soldiers began cheering and whistling, and the party was on. My Dad told me "I never gave the suffering of the Japanese five minutes thought. We were just all goddamned glad we weren't going to have to go invade mainland Japan." The estimated American casualties to invade Japan: one million men.

    That's a lot of bereaved families, all to save people who were at war with us, and who had attacked us without warning and without a formal declaration of war. Sucks for them, though.
  6. ikueism

    ikueism Guest

  7. 23578

    23578 Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 2, 2000 Messages: 2,521 Likes Received: 0
    Re: wa5te-

    what? where did you get this information from? ever heard of three mile island? i'm not sure but i think we were in on the ground floor of nuclear power, and maybe france has built more per capita nuclear power or percentage use, but i'm pretty sure our output is still greater. and bush cheney ran on more nuke plants. dammit man, the nuke plant next door to nyc is still in operation if i'm not mistaken. don't misunderstand me, i'm not saying anything about the history of nuclear bombs and testing, i don't really know enough. i don't think anyone does know enough about it, it's not common enough knowledge. but what i know is that the materials and structural technology doesn't exist to contain nuclear materials until they are inert, therefore, in my opinion, we shouldn't use nuclear power. it's logical. to me this is more important than whether or not we have health insurance for babies, or everything else you and i have different opinions on.

    teller, he admits he made some mistakes, but he helped save us from the nazis in a timely fashion. i don't blame him for the arms race, or his support of star wars. i support star wars for the same reason he gave. his bad choices seem to have come from understandable reasons. oppenheimer, yeah, that one sucked, but he saw him as a rat. that's something he couldn't respect as an escapee of nazi germany. he's transparent, it's almost funny that someone like this would have been such a great man, he seems so normal a monster. it just goes to show what humility breeds in man.

    ok, i'll let you respond now. ;)
  8. metallix

    metallix Elite Member

    Joined: Oct 7, 2001 Messages: 2,955 Likes Received: 1
  9. KaBar2

    KaBar2 Senior Member

    Joined: Jun 27, 2003 Messages: 2,126 Likes Received: 64
    We always cover so many topics in each post!

    I think the nuclear power issue is a difficult one. Do I like nuclear power? Sure. It's relatively clean and cheap (compared to say, burning coal.) Do I like nuclear waste? Noooo. Nobody does. Everything is a trade-off. Nuclear power is only economical and safe if they don't blow the fucking thing up. Three-Mile Island was scarey. Chernobyl was a disaster. But the hundreds of other nuke power plants seem to be doing okay.

    Teller and Oppenheimer were products of their time. If we were facing the Nazis, instead of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, maybe our response would be different. No doubt that they have not changed the way they do things very much in places like Iraq, but now they have the technology to bring their hatred to the western world in a big way. They do not seem to be concerned much that we have the ability to return the favor. Maybe what they need is a more graphic wake-up call, I don't know. The Japanese seemed to have learned their lesson. We out-spent the Soviets. I guess what is required with the Islamists is a massive back-alley operation. We'll take them down one-by-one-by-one until they just run out of terrorists for us to kill.
  10. im not witty

    im not witty Guest

    "i'll fight a tank with a shank and thats my fucking word"
  11. 23578

    23578 Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 2, 2000 Messages: 2,521 Likes Received: 0
    dude terrorism is not that scary to me, what is scary to me is that we cannot contain the waste products of nuclear power. you have to have a controlled environment, free from seismic activity, away from water, and sheilded by tons of metal and rock. it's kind of like when idiots burn garbage, you know it's bad, but it's so much cheaper. i don't agree with that. i wouldn't be as concerned if it was our only alternative, but it's not, while we cannot live without power, but fossil fuels, wind, hydro, tidal, etc. all can maintain sufficient power for our needs. and kabar this is not off topic. this guy that died was a political force, nuclear power being one of them. you yourself admited you feel indebted to him for what he did, in this way he pushed his ideas on politicians, just like Enron. what made him feel so all knowing, he said himself that he was only involved with the manhatten project because he had a car and could drive. i think he was caught up in cycles of human nature, that's my contention why someone could dedicate a lifetime to building bigger bombs. he was caught up and confused the lines between success, love, fear and hate. how many people still go to the office at 95, is that dedication, or is that obsession? this is a tragic existance.
  12. Ferris Bueller

    Ferris Bueller Elite Member

    Joined: Oct 25, 2000 Messages: 4,246 Likes Received: 71
    How ironic..

    I was just watching "Trinity and Beyond"..

    It's the documentary about the nuclear race and covers the Trinity (first nuclear test performed by USA) and the many others that followed. Lots of declassified information, enhanced footage, and interviews. The H-Bomb tests were the coolest, but at the same time terrifying because of how destructive they were. One of the tests, may have been the "Mike" shot which was part of the Operation Ivy campaign, where the fireball consumed the very island (took place in Bikini Atoll) it was housed on, and left a crater over a mile wide and really fucking deep. I believe it was a shot rated at 10 MEGATONS, whereas Hiroshima (Little Boy) was ~16 kilotons.
  13. Dick Quickwood

    Dick Quickwood 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Aug 25, 2002 Messages: 14,783 Likes Received: 14
  14. Dick Quickwood

    Dick Quickwood 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Aug 25, 2002 Messages: 14,783 Likes Received: 14
  15. Intangible

    Intangible 12oz Legend

    Joined: Jul 9, 2001 Messages: 17,479 Likes Received: 6
    nuclear energy is evil.