Over the decades nothing has sparked a greater debate over the safety of the human race, than the matters related to the use of nuclear technology. The world witnessed a shocking incident in 1945 when the Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed taking over 129,000 lives. This remains the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare history, but the world hasn’t stopped at it, they continue to research and develop nuclear weapons for their safety.
Even nuclear energy projects, if not handled carefully can be disastrous as evident from the Chernobyl Accident in 1986. Although this debate hasn’t quite suggested us a concrete solution yet, it is only a matter of trust, fear and politics that the nations hold that’s safeguarding the human race.
Edward Teller was a Hungarian born American theoretical physicist who participated in the world’s first atomic bomb in 1945, and led to the development of the world’s first thermonuclear weapon, the hydrogen bomb. He was given the title “Father of Hydrogen Bombs”, although he claimed that he did not care for the title.
His support of nuclear weapons and opposition to test bans, along with the advocacy of Strategic Defence. This made him one of the controversial physicists of 20th century and also one of the most politically influential. He was born on January 15, 1908 to a prosperous Hungarian-Jewish family and received his schooling in Budapest. As a young child Edward displayed extraordinary mathematical ability.
He desired to study mathematics but initially chose Chemistry as a compromise with his father. His focus on chemistry was short-lived, as he quickly resumed his study in mathematics in addition to chemistry, and in the second year of his University, he was introduced to quantum mechanics. Fascinated by the subject he chose calculating the energy states of molecular hydrogen beyond its ground states as a thesis for his doctorate. Teller was absorbed with atomic physics studying under Neils Bohr in Copenhagen.
In 1935, Teller along with his new bride relocated to Washington DC and joined the George Washington University following his colleague George Gamow. He became the citizen of USA in 1941. Upon his meeting with the Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi, who had proposed that fission explosions might create conditions quite similar to what happens in stars, Teller began considering his idea of a hydrogen weapon. Though, Teller was initially sceptical, he quickly became one of the leading proponents of fusion weapons.
Teller was invited to the meeting of the top physicists in 1942, called by J. Robert Oppenheimer to discuss the possibility of a fission weapon. He was also a part of the Manhattan Project developing the world’s first fission weapon; there he had a fallout with Oppenheimer and two other scientists as a result of which he was removed from the theoretical division and was allowed to devote himself full time to the question of fusion.
Teller became controversial in 1954, when he testified against Oppenheimer’s security hearing. Teller was also one of the first prominent people to raise to change the danger of climate change by the burning of fossil fuel.
In 1991, he was awarded the first lg Nobel Peace Prize (A Parody to the original Nobel Prize) in recognition of his “lifelong efforts to change the meaning of peace as we know it.” He was also rumoured to be one of the inspirations behind Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 satirical film Dr. Strangelove.