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.


Questioning the motivation and consequences of this work


A new secret laboratory at Los Alamos and working with Oppenheimer
Edward Teller Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments
By that time, it was the summer of 1942 and Oppenheimer invited a number of people, Felix Bloch, Hans Bethe, a few of his students, Serber, Frinkel, myself, and on my recommendation, Konopinski, to discuss matters. And there, in our conference in Berkeley, I had an opportunity to propose a hydrogen bomb, the design that we had at that time. We had a thorough and long discussion. It was obviously of general interest. In the middle of it, Oppenheimer left for a conference with the head of the Chicago group, with Compton. He reported on what we were doing and what he has said, that is in the record- There are novel possibilities. Even when we have the nuclear explosive, it will not be a simple matter. A major theoretical effort and a major practical effort will be needed. We need a new and separate laboratory to do all this. And this was to be set up at the very secret, remote place at Los Alamos. There was a boys school there that was bought. It was taken over by the Army. And, beginning of '43, we were to start an effort there to make whatever, an atomic bomb, or more. I had some difficulties.

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, 49 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008