a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


The Oppenheimer hearings (Part 3)


The Oppenheimer hearings (Part 2)
Edward Teller Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments
Louis Strauss was uncharacteristically late for his appointment and when he came he was deeply disturbed. We did not discuss what I wanted to discuss. He told me something in great confidence, I must not mention it to anybody and of course I didn't for many years but of course by now all this is clearly in the public domain. Louis Strauss was told - he came from a discussion with the President, Eisenhower - he was told that Oppenheimer's security clearance, his access to classified material must be investigated. And Louis was very disturbed about it, told me he wants to prevent that; told me that actually there have been reasons not to seek Oppenheimer's advice any more, and nothing need to be- needs to be done about it, if Oppenheimer would simply say that he is not particularly interested in continuing to give advice. -I hope, said Louis- we can avoid anything worse. Oppenheimer was abroad. When he came back the suggestion was made to him- Return all classified material, don't worry any longer about atomic explosives, otherwise we have an order from the President to investigate your clearance. Oppenheimer decided he wanted the investigation. The reason of all this was a letter by a man called Bill Borden. He was an assistant of Senator McBain and on the occasion a few years earlier when I saw McBain, he called in Bill Borden- This is my assistant, an excellent man. If you have any further questions, be in touch with him. He'll do the right thing. Bill Borden did not like the opposition to the hydrogen bomb, did not like the record of Oppenheimer, wanted Oppenheimer investigated. But his boss McBain and his colleagues told him- Don't do anything. Nonsense. A few years later, with a change in the personnel of this committee, Bill Borden stopped working in Washington, got a job with the industry and was now free to do what he wanted. And he did - and to my mind did unfortunately - write a letter.

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: 4 minutes, 24 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008