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Bohr suggesting that uranium can be split


Hans Bethe winning the Nobel Prize
Edward Teller Scientist
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There was another activity in Washington, initiated by Gamow, which was very interesting and very useful. He introduced an annual conference, essentially for theorists, with an entirely different subject each year. In organizing those conferences, getting the invitations, getting people amused, and getting the work done I, and also my wife, participated thoroughly and with enthusiasm. I might perhaps mention only one of those conferences, where we decided to discuss the energy production in stars, on which Gamow and I did some preliminary work and so did one of my students by the name of Critchfield. Now, my great contribution at that time was that invited my friend, Hans Bethe to this conference, who would not come, not interested in the subject. Well, I called him, I think, at least three times and told him- It's very interesting and you must come. He did. He did not regret it, but rather he got the Nobel Prize for having found some of the most effective ways how energy production in the stars will occur. That is the se- famous Carbon Cycle; the carbon absorbing a proton, absorbing a proton, and so on, making beta decays and in the end, after the fourth proton got absorbed, you split up a helium nucleus and start the cycle from the beginning.

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, 32 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008