Edward Teller was born in Budapest,
Austria-Hungary, in 1908. He graduated in chemical engineering at
Karlsruhe, before studying theoretical physics at Munich and
Copenhagen under Nils Bohr.
Teller moved to England when the
Nazis came to power in 1933. Two
years later he emigrated to America and taught at George Washington
University before moving to the University of Chicago. In 1942 Teller
joined the Manhattan Project team working on atomic fission at Los
Alamos. He was involved in the development of the first atom bomb
(1942-46) and the H-bomb (1946-53).
In 1953 Teller was appointed as professor at the University of
California. The following year Teller was a key witness against his
colleague, Robert Oppenheimer, who was considered a security risk
because he objected to the development of the atom bomb. Unlike
Oppenheimer, Teller disagreed with the idea that a scientist should
consider the moral implications of research.
The author of Our Nuclear Future (1958), Teller opposed the
1963 test-ban treaty. It was Teller who convinced President Ronald
Reagan of the feasibility of the Star Wars Project for militarizing
space with fission-bomb-powered X-ray lasers.