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Edward Teller

(1908 - 2003)

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Edward Teller was a Jewish Hungarian theoretical physicist who is known colloquially as "the father of the hydrogen bomb."

Teller (born January 15, 1908; died Septeber 9, 2003) 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.

Sources: Spartacus Educational

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