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Szilárd's help with family (Part 2)


Szilárd's help with family (Part 1)
Edward Teller Scientist
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Szilárd was another case. While Wigner and von Neumann agreed with me in being worried about the Soviet Union, Szilárd was part of- became part of the movement wanting to work with the Soviets as much as ever possible. This attitude of Szilárd even separated him quite strongly from his one-time friend, Wigner. But Szilárd and I had lots of opp- of opportunities to talk to each other. We disagreed, but Szilárd, who was a man differing all his life from the majority, did certainly not criticize me from having a different opinion. He and I appeared together on television and had as pointed yet a friendly debate. And here I would like to insert a little point of personal history that makes me particularly- makes my feelings towards Szilárd particularly strong and warm. A few years later, maybe three or four years later, I ran into Szilárd in Washington, invited him for lunch, and Szilárd told me- You are all wrong about the Soviets. You don't understand what they are up to. You go to Moscow for two weeks and you will have changed your mind completely. I said- I won't go. - Why not? Szilárd was quite willing to acknowledge that I ac- that I did not accept his advice, but I had a reason for that. I said to Szilárd- Look, for instance, my mother and sister live in Budapest. If I am in Moscow their position maybe used to blackmail me. Szilárd said- Nonsense. That never will happen. But I will do something about it.

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: 3 minutes, 21 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008