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Learning the piano


Communists and grandparents
Edward Teller Scientist
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Well, my excellent mathematics teacher was also an ardent Communist who occasionally told us- If everything is not quite all right in the regime, now listen, you build a new house. There are all kinds of difficulties while you are building it. In the end, what the Communists are building is right thing. Well somehow I heard enough about my father losing his job and a few other things, that I believed his mathematics much more than his politics. But I also remember that all this was not a very big problem for me. It might have developed into one but the Allied armies came, threw out the Communists. They had been in power in Hungary for only four months. At the end of that time, my mother's darling children having lost some weight, we had to be taken down to the country, to my grandparents, for purpose of being fattened up. In particular, we were taken to my mother's parents. My father's parents had died long ago. My maternal grandfather, a very wonderful person. I must say so because it is said that I resembled him and I don't want to drive modesty so hard- so far as not to praise him.

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, 1 second

Date story recorded: June 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008