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 importance of accuracy in American defense


Reagan's statement on defense against missiles (Part 2)
Edward Teller Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments
As President of the United States he said- It is very important to find a defense against missiles and, he said- I am convinced it can be done. Many of us, including me, were invited on the occasion when he gave this speech. I had a few opportunities to reinforce details about that possibility before he gave that talk. Eventually he did something that I believe is important and exceptional. He accepted our emphasis on defense, he accepted our optimism on the feasibility, he did not quite accept our way of trying to do it. Originally we put emphasis on the energy of the defensive explosion. He said- Maybe, but let- let's try to do it without nuclear explosives. And particularly under the leadership of one of the younger member of our community, Doctor Lowell Wood, we developed a method that depends much less on the size of the defensive explosion, and much more on accuracy. Indeed, the plan which Lowell called Brilliant Pebbles, was based on a violent collision of a small defensive object with the much bigger incoming object.

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: 2 minutes, 55 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1996

Date story went live: 29 September 2010