AUTHORHargittai, István
TITLEJudging Edward Teller: A Closer Look at One of the Most Influential Scientists of the Twentieth Century
PUBLISHERPrometheus Books
CITYAmherst, NY

This work provides a balanced, comprehensive biography of Edward Teller, one of the most influential scientists of the twentieth century. The author presents insights into Teller’s views and motivations, his interactions with friends and opponents, his intense personality, and various influences on Teller’s personal, scientific and political life. Organized around significant events in Teller's life, the book begins with his early life in Hungary; successive chapters describe his work with Werner Heisenberg in Germany, immigration to the U.S. and contributions to the Manhattan Project during World War II, his major role in the development of the hydrogen bomb during the Cold War as well as the creation of the Lawrence Livermore National laboratory, and his active promotion of the Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars”). The author notes that Teller's ability to integrate national defense with support for basic research and science education was important in shaping U.S. policy in those critical areas. Of particular interest is Teller's relationship with J. Robert Oppenheimer and the damning testimony he gave at Oppenheimer’s security hearing. The book concludes with an interesting afterword by Richard Garwin, Teller’s former student and protégé. It should be noted that the author's sources do not include works published within the decade previous to the book's publication date.

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