Slug: edward-teller-h-bomb-architect-dead-at-95 Date: 2003-09-11 Title: Edward Teller, H-Bomb Architect, Dead at 95 layout: post

Someone mentioned to me today that Edward Teller was dead. I had no idea who Edward Teller was, or why (or if) I should be pleased (as this person seemed to be) that he was dead.

Then I noticed that Dave had linked to a New York Times obit on Teller.

Edward Teller was a proponent and architect of the hydrogen bomb, a thermo-nuclear device and the successor to the weaker atom bomb.

According to the NYTimes piece, Teller was a mathemetician of Hungarian descent who started in pure research, was asked to become part of Oppenheimer's atom bomb team at Los Alamos, and eventually pushed for and started the Lawrence Livermore Lab in San Fransisco as a facility to pursue the creation of a hydrogen bomb.

Considering his conservative politics, especially before and during the Cold War, and his chosen profession, I can see why many vilify this man. He did not argue against using nuclear devices against Japan, yet expressed afterwards that "doing so had been a mistake", and wished that a non-destructive use could have been made of the devices. He also ruined Oppenheimer's career during the McCarthy era by testifying that Oppenheimer was unreliable and causing his security clearance to be revoked.