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Starting Livermore


The right decision was reached, but only by chance
Edward Teller Scientist
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Coming back to Los Alamos, the developments were not all that favorable. The new approach was to be studied, but the man put- was put under the leadership of one of the strongest opponents of the hydrogen bomb. And at that time I began to feel quite uneasy. The right decisions had been reached but it seemed to depend on something that was almost an accident, that one man from the General Advisory Committee was willing to listen to the new approach. Without the intervention of Smyth, the decision of Princeton might have been different.

The late Hungarian-American physicist Edward Teller helped to develop the atomic bomb and provided the theoretical framework for the hydrogen bomb. During his long and sometimes controversial career he was a staunch advocate of nuclear power and also of a strong defence policy, calling for the development of advanced thermonuclear weapons.

Listeners: John H. Nuckolls

John H. Nuckolls was Director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 1988 to 1994. He joined the Laboratory in 1955, 3 years after its establishment, with a masters degree in physics from Columbia. He rose to become the Laboratory's Associate Director for Physics before his appointment as Director in 1988.

Nuckolls, a laser fusion and nuclear weapons physicist, helped pioneer the use of computers to understand and simulate physics phenomena at extremes of temperature, density and short time scales. He is internationally recognised for his work in the development and control of nuclear explosions and as a pioneer in the development of laser fusion.

Duration: 1 minute, 9 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008