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Going to the USA


Applying for a non quota visa
Edward Teller Scientist
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My being invited as a professor, I thought gave me the right to impl- apply for a non quota visa. They accepted my request as a request and in a few weeks wrote back- Sorry, you cannot be admitted. I was very happy in England and I was just as happy not to come. But Mici, who had visited in the United States was absolutely adamant we have to go. And both of us and particularly she, had a Hungarian friend by the name of Thomas Balogh. He was in the same high school as I and for whatever reason, not clear to me, we used to call him, in his student days, Lord Balogh. That is what he became eventually. He went to England, was an excellent economist and was knighted and made a Lord. At that time he wasn't yet. But Mici complained to him and he said- I'd go and straighten it out. And he did go to the American embassy and found out why I wouldn't be invit- admitted. I asked for a non quota visa and got a professorship but a non quota visa cannot be granted for an occupation that you did not exercise for the last year before you applied for the visa. I was a professor at the time I applied but a few months earlier I was a Rockefeller Fellow rather than a professor, so I could not get a non quota visa. However, they also told Balogh, which they did not tell me, that the Hungarian quota was not filled and all I had to do was to apply for a quota visa, then I could be admitted. So that is how, for the second time, I got into a little trouble with American administration, which, however, with appropriate effort and good luck, was surmounted. I accepted Gamow's invitation.

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, 6 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008