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Fermi transferring to Los Alamos and a conclusion to the work


Fermi and Wigner using false names for security reasons
Edward Teller Scientist
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On one occasion two of the most important people, Fermi and Wigner, went to visit the site and these people were not known to the guards. For security reasons, Wigner was called Wagner and Fermi was called Farmer and when they came in the guards knew Wigner, or Wagner, but they were a little worried about this strange man with an accent who was called Farmer. And so they objected and what did my friend Wigner say?- His name is Farmer, as truly as my name is Wagner. And I don't know whether it was Wagner or Farmer who gave the explanation.

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: 1 minute, 33 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008