Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Bomb

On this day Harry Truman announced to the World that the United States had another weapon that was even more capable of destruction than the Atomic Bomb. It was 1953, and the cold war was getting hotter.

The U S now had the Hydrogen Bomb.

And a geogaphic state could now not only destroy its enemy, but the rest of the World as well.

The Father of the so called H bomb, which was 1000 times more powerful than the Atomic Bomb was Edward Teller. Teller was born into an affluent, educated Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary. Young Edward was a mathematical prodigy and educated in the best private schools.

In 1926, Edward left Budapest to study chemical engineering in Karlsruhe, Germany. In Karlsruhe, Teller became intrigued by physics, particularly the new theory of quantum mechanics. The young chemical engineer transferred to the University of Munich in 1928 to pursue this interest. In Munich, a streetcar accident took Teller's right foot.

Teller's friend, Leo Szilard, enlisted Albert Einstein to bring the possibility of an atomic weapon to the attention of President Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt appealed to the scientific community to mobilize for the defense of freedom. In 1941, Teller joined America's best physicists in the top secret Manhattan Project.

Their mission: to develop the atom bomb before the Germans did.

After preliminary work in Chicago with Enrico Fermi, and in Berkeley with J. Robert Oppenheimer, Teller moved to the isolated laboratory at Los Alamos, New Mexico. Here, under Oppenheimer's leadership the first atomic bomb would be built.

Teller made a major contribution to the development of the atomic bomb. From the beginning, some scientists had feared that an uncontrolled nuclear reaction, like that of the proposed bomb, might continue indefinitely, consuming the earth. Teller's calculations reassured the team that the nuclear explosion, while enormously powerful, would only destroy a limited area.

Let me repeat that,

some scientists had feared that an uncontrolled nuclear reaction, like that of the proposed bomb, might continue indefinitely, consuming the earth.

Since the earth's atmosphere is mostly nitrogen, it was feared that the high temperature would ignite the atmosphere and the earth would simply go up in flames like a gasoline depot hit by a crashing plane.

You got to love a guy who believes in his numbers.

Teller and Oppenheimer had problems getting along. Teller thought Oppenheimer and his team at Los Alamos were too ambivalent about developing the next generation of nuclear weapons, and that an independent facility was needed.

He lobbied Congress and the armed services vigorously for the establishment of a second laboratory for thermonuclear research. The Atomic Energy Commission responded by establishing the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in northern California. Teller ultimately served as director of the Livermore lab.

Over the years, Teller continued to advocate a strong national defense. He made headlines in the 1970s, promoting the development of nuclear fusion as an alternative to other sources of energy, and again in the 1980s, testifying in favor of the strategic missile defense system.

He died at his home at the age of 95.

Perhaps if Teller had testified for developing solar energy in the 70s, things would have been different.

But I doubt it.

What we do need now is someone of Teller's prominence

that will lobby for a solar hydrogen solution.

We need a clean energy Manhattan Project.

We need an Albert Einstein to write the President.

We need a President who will appeal to the scientific community

to defend the Planet,

And the Earthfamily.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teller was a maniac. He was Dr. Strangelove.

10:56 AM  
Blogger John Hamre said...

A maniac or a tool from God Almighty?
His contributions in developing the Hydrogen bomb allows us the future as predicted within the Book of Revelations.

A blessed genius would be a more apt description of this man.


12:17 PM  
Blogger oZ said...

Somehow that missing right foot seems significant. Strangelovian I suppose.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with J D. The bomb makes us strong.

7:10 PM  

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