Talk:Edward Teller

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Teller - Lazar[edit]

Robert Scott Lazar famously claimed to have worked on reverse engineering of extraterrestrial flying vehicles (UFOs) at S4 near famed area51 and that he got the job through Edward Teller at Los Alamos. While many of you simpleton fascist librarian types who maintain and plague wikipedia would dismiss such a claim because you can't handle controversy, a journalist went to see Teller with a video camera to ask him if he knew Bob Lazar. Teller interestingly did not deny knowing him but said he would not talk about such matters on camera. Part of the interview is here www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDfN-VY67xM
Bob Lazar also worked at Los Alamos at one point. Los Alamos denied that even though a Los Alamos phonebook listed his name and colleagues confirmed it. Since Edward Teller was the director at LANL and there is little information about what he did there later in his carrier, and it's well known USA has a large black world and the Groom Lake facility and Nellis is tied to LANL, it's interesting Lazar should come up with such a plausible indictment if he's just a crazy conman.
Dan Frederiksen 85.83.19.103 (talk) 23:01, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

Old comments[edit]

Was Teller Jewish? This seems to be implied but is not stated.

Yes.

What was the reason why Teller left Hungary? Mentioning Horthy doesn't make this clear enough. Andres 21:43, 10 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Probably not the only reason. Money, fame, possibilities are all good keywords.
Okay, here's some light on the Horthy rules: in 1920 they installed a rule called Numerus clausus, which limited the number of the students of Jewish origin in the higher education system in Hungary. They raised the numbers in 1928, showing the ambivalent nature of the Horthy era to the Jewish "problem". More on google with 'numerus clausus horthy'. --grin 10:04, 11 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Thank you, now it's clear. Andres 18:23, 11 Sep 2003 (UTC)

How did the differences between Teller and many of his colleagues began? Was there any particular reason why he was not chosen the head of the H-bomb project? Andres 18:23, 11 Sep 2003 (UTC)

The following is not a bad summary: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/bomb/peopleevents/pandeAMEX73.html
It's also worth noting that Teller was regarded as having very good ideas but never following through with them and not working well at all as an administrative head (during the Manhattan Project he refused to do the work that his section head Hans Bethe gave to him and instead passed it off on one of his assistants... who later turned out to be Klaus Fuchs). --Fastfission 16:20, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

What was the date of his death? The article doesn't state it.

First sentence: Edward Teller (original Hungarian name Teller Ede) (January 15, 1908 - September 9, 2003) was an... Isn't that "date enough"?

Funny tidbit:

He wasn't really deeply involved in Hungarian politics, but since he was a famous person he (or rather his name) was used from time to time in Hungarian political battles, or maybe he felt he had to have his word in everything important, including homeland politics. Around 2000 he wrote a letter to the "Hungarians" briefly analysing the political "merits" of the actual government.

Nowadays (2003 sept) political tensions are rising, people start to get really angry at the governing party, so it came a little surprise when Mr. Teller's letter was published in the largest government-friendly newspaper talking about the greatness of the governing party and telling the evilness of the opposition. Timing was pretty distasteful (IMHO) as well because it was published, well, after the death of him.

But politics never cease to surprise. As it turned out the letter was fake. It might have been initiated by Teller, since a reporter "friend" of him seemed to convince him to form a strong opinion about Hungarian politics, but the letter never existed (as it seems), he told some things to some people, wrote some things, and the words and thoughts were formed by some innocent and not-some-innocent people to get the desired result. Newspaper apologies, political yelling-at-everyones, all the fun.

Maybe now even politicians could just leave him to rest in pace, ey?

--grin 08:05, 19 Sep 2003 (UTC)


FAR[edit]

This article is in the process of a Featured Article review. If you want to discuss it you can do so at WP:FAR. regards, Daimanta 14:41, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Strangelove and other things[edit]

Four likely progenitors of Dr. Strangelove: 1. Werner Von Braun 2. Herman Kahn (Author of "On Thermonuclear War") 3. Henry Kissinger 4. Edward Teller

  • That's right -- that's why I changed it from "the" inspiration to "an" inspiration (Strangelove seems based on a combination of real life people; though I personally wonder how well known Kissinger was in 1964 and whether McNamara was more likely -- in any event, that's neither here nor there!). Also, the "Classical Super" was an unworkable version designed by Teller in 1946 [1] [2]; and I don't care what order the references are in as long as it is purposeful (I was doing it alphabetically by last name, but chronologically works fine too -- I didn't realize that was what you were intending). --Fastfission 17:01, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)
It is extremely unlikely that Henry Kissinger was an influence for Dr. Strangelove. Production began on the movie in 1963. At that time Kissinger was not a well-known figure, and certainly did not significantly influence American defense policy. Joema 18:41, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Teller, H-bomb, Soviets[edit]

User:Ashujo added the following text:

Following the Soviet test detonation of an atomic device in 1949, Teller returned to Los Alamos in 1950 to join the hydrogen bomb program started by President Truman on Teller's initiative. This decision by Truman had been taken on the basis of the recent knowledge of the disclosure of H-bomb secrets by Klaus Fuchs to the Russians. However, later declassified documents show that almost every technical detail conceived by Teller since 1946 and communicated to the Russians by Fuchs was shown to be technically unfeasible, a fact that was not acknowledged by Teller. In fact, if Teller had not urged the administration to expedite a hydrogen bomb test, the debris from which would leave telltale signatures of the bomb's mechanism, the Russians would have gotten misled by the information that Fuchs supplied them, and Russian H-bomb development would admittedly have been stalled. During the same year Teller grew impatient with the progress of the program, insisted on involving more theorists, and accused his colleagues of lacking imagination. This worsened his relations with other researchers. By 1951, he was desperate for a workable hydrogen bomb.

I'm changing it for a few reasons. 1. Truman's launching of the H-bomb project, to my knowledge, had nothing to do with thinking Fuchs gave info to the Russians. The reason I've always seen given was that he needed something to one-up them with. I've not seen anything which would give Teller as much agency as to say that he was the one behind Truman's crash order. 2. There is no evidence that the Russians used the Mike fallout productively towards their own h-bomb design. The BAS article you cited was strongly objected to by both Russian scientists involved and by a number of historians. (Sakharov claimed -- in his memoirs I believe -- that they accidentally destroyed all fallout data they received). In any event, it's questionable just how much information one could get out of the fallout. According to some calculations, they might have been able to detect that the primary and secondary were separate from one another, but that's about it. (see [3]) Anyway, I think this flattens the history a little bit too much, gives too much agency to Teller, and I think the assumption that Teller "gave away the secret" because of his urgency to have a test is not that well founded (and anyway, Teller thought the USSR also coming up with it was inevitable anyway). Additionally, the Soviets could see for themselves that the Fuchs information was unreliable (this is well documented in both Rhodes's Dark Sun and Halloway's Stalin and the Bomb). --Fastfission 22:10, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Here is the Khariton article from BAS that disputes the idea that they used fallout analysis. [4]
"Finally, did Soviet scientists use information acquired as a result of radiochemical analyses of atmospheric samples after the U.S. test on November 1, 1952?
Definitely not. At that time, Soviet research was not organized on a sufficiently high level, and useful results were not obtained, although radiochemical analyses of samples of fallout could have provided some useful information about the materials used to produce the explosion. The relationship between certain short-lived isotopes formed in the course of thermonuclear reactions could have made it possible to judge the degree of compression of the thermonuclear fuel, but knowing the degree of compression would not have allowed Soviet scientists to conclude exactly how the exploded device had been made, and it would not have revealed its design."
Anyway, I don't think this article is really the place for all of this information (a page on the Soviet or US bomb would be more appropriate).--Fastfission 01:08, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

We don't know exactly how much info the fallout analysis gives, although it certainly shows the separation of the primary and secondary, and compression. In any case, it took the Russians three years after the Americans to produce their bomb, and Bethe thinks whatever they did get out of the fallout would give them about this much time to go from there to a workable design. It also took the British about the same time to get the idea for the Teller-Ulam design from analysing the Russian fallout. So this seems to have considerable validity. I would suggest that in addition to Teller's own Sci Am 1999 account, which obviously cannot be authentic, you add another reference from a third party. Ashujo

The point is that we don't have anything definitive either way on this question -- a few U.S. people say "it's possible," the Soviets say "well, we didn't have our act together to do that," and there is currently nothing else beyond that to answer the question. It should not be a debate on the Edward Teller page, it should go on a page about the Soviet hydrogen bomb. Also, I didn't include the Teller 1999 account to make it sound as if I believed in it (I included it because it was humorously absurd and quite reflective of his temperment); I didn't realize it was coming off that way (I've added in a few other assessments). --Fastfission 03:46, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I am not sure I understood your addition. Why would a difficult and novel design make scientists start believing that it would now be inevitable for both the US and the USSR to create the weapon? If anything, a simple design would make them believe that.--Ashujo 08:15, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

It was the elegance of it. At least, that's how it is usually described in the histories. (It sounds a bit like a fairy tale to me, "All the scientists from all around the land saw it, and lo! they knew it was beautiful and would work, a device a genius and destructive import!"). Bethe has written, I believe, that once he saw the Teller-Ulam configuration he knew it was the weapon was feasible and that it was inevitable that the USSR would discover it at some point on their own. --Fastfission 12:42, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

Monte Carlo method[edit]

The page currently says that Teller was an originator of the Monte Carlo method along with Nicholas Metropolis. However I have always heard that was a product of Stanislaw Ulam, John von Neumann, and Enrico Fermi, primarily, and that it was developed at Los Alamos in 1946, i.e. after Teller had already left. (Other methods of stochastic simulation of course were in employ before Monte Carlo, but that's the generally canonical story, as I understand it). The page on Monte Carlo seems to back this story up -- what's the source for saying that Teller had anything to do with it? I've been reading a lot of literature on Monte Carlo lately and have never seen him name associated with it before, but I don't rule it out completely of course. --Fastfission 12:12, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

In more poking around in this literature I found only a few side references to Teller as someone who used and came up with some variations of Monte Carlo, but nothing naming him as an originator. I'm going to take our that text for now. --Fastfission 05:45, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

We did include the reference to the 1953 Journal of Chemical Physics paper with Metropolis on which he is actually the corresponding author. The Metropolis criterion first proposed in that paper is probably the most important protocol in Monte Carlo simulations. I think that should do. Ashujo —Preceding unsigned comment added by 170.140.189.21 (talk) 16:21, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Bad Religion[edit]

An extremely popular and influential punk rock band called Bad Religion, wrote a rather well known song about Edward Teller called "The Biggest Killer in American History". It should also be noted, that the singer/songwriter who wrote the song is Greg Graffin who is also a science professor at UCLA. His opinions of Teller reflect that of literally hundreds of thousands of his group's fans and a fan website even included a history of Edward Teller due the popularity of that song. I feel it's noteworthy that Tellers reach was so big, that people outside of the science community would be able to form strong opinions about him, thanks mostly to this song.--Adam

Perhaps a section on Teller in popular culture, which would also include Dr. Edward Anti-Teller. Although it would probably be better to include both at relevant points. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:17, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

GRASER[edit]

Why is there no mention of Edward Teller's work on Gamma-Ray Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (GRASER)? Teller did put a GRASER project together back in the day. Adraeus 23:57, July 21, 2005 (UTC)

It is obscure (to me, anyway). Tell us more about it at GRASER. GangofOne 05:23, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, I know nothing about that either. I assume it is related to his beam-weapon Star Wars whatnot? --Fastfission 17:04, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
I have redirected Gamma-Ray Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation and GRASER to laser. There wasn't much content there, and this is a speculative device. While stimulated emission of gamma rays is possible, it's not an easy step from there to a working gamma ray laser. Wikipedia policy forbids articles on things that haven't happened yet, and may not occur.--Srleffler 04:33, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

The Teller Oppenheimer Controversy[edit]

Shoud'nt the story of Teller's testimony against Oppenheimer be expanded upon. It seems to only be mentioned in the caption of one of his photographs. Vatsa ,23 Sep 2005.

It is mentioned in the article, but the actual content of it (and the means by which it came about) is not in there at all. I'll try to add some more information on that if I get the time, good call.--Fastfission 15:27, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
Okay, I added a brief section on it. --Fastfission 15:49, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

Connection to Israel's bomb?[edit]

A new book apparently implies that Teller may have been involved in the Israeli bomb project in some way. I haven't had a chance to look at it in detail but if someone wanted to follow up and see if it was worth citing, here is a review of it: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/16/AR2006021601897.html --Fastfission 02:35, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Shelter Island[edit]

After the war and before the H-bomb, Teller played a minor role in the 1947 Shelter Island Conference; I think he had something to say about the two-meson hypothesis. I haven't done much with that article, but ultimately we should link to it from here. Melchoir 06:24, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

American?[edit]

Why is it written that Teller is a Hungarian-born American scientist?
Is it said that George Gamow is a Ukrainian-born American scientist? No. What's written is that he is a Ukrainian-born scientist, which is factually true.
Look at Marie_Curie: it isn't even written that she is a Polish-born chemist. But I certainly don't read from the article that she is a Polish-born French chemist. You know why? Because she lived and worked most of her life in a country called France, whereas Teller lived and worked most of his life in a country called USA.
I am saying that there should be a policy, so that a featured article doesn't read that Teller is an American scientist. Personally, I would stick to the facts, in a clear fashion.
Someone who only possesses the american nationality, is an American.
So someone who was born, raised and lived in the USA is an American.
Someone who was born and raised in Hungary, lived his life in the USA but wasn't naturalized is a Hungarian.
Someone who was born and raised in Hungary, lived his life in the USA and was naturalized is hungarian-born.
Someone who was born in Hungary, but was raised in the USA and lived in the USA is an American.
One can only be called an American if he was raised in the USA.LKenzo 10:11, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

The Martians, the group of Hungarians Teller was part of were all Hungarians and let me quote from the book The Martians of Science from István Hargittai, to emphasize the importance of his Hungarian roots.

"All five came from Budapest and ended up in the United States via Germany. All benefited from and were shaped by the sizzling intellectual life of the Hungarian capital around the turn of the twentieth century."

So it is utmost important, that he was raised in Hungary, despite the harsh conditions. So he is not a Hungarian-born American, he is a Hungarian-American. If you get another citizenship, that doesn't mean you become erased as a Hungarian. And all the other "martians" are marked as Hungarian-Americans not Hungarian-born American. So correct this once and for all.

Joseph Pulitzer - Hungarian-American
George Soros - Hungarian-American
Eugene Wigner - Hungarian-American
John von Neumann - Hungarian-American

Do I need to cite more?

 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dflt1122 (talkcontribs) 00:19, 26 July 2011 (UTC) 

Jewish Racism?[edit]

Why the Jewish reference right at the top?? Look at other bio's. ie Ted Kennedy, doesn't say of Catholic decent, ect. This is racism.

You are being unreasonable. Please stop removing this material, we don't really want to block you from editing. - Ta bu shi da yu 14:29, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

WOW, I am off censor, cool :)...Seriously, I am wonder WHY Teller's Jewish background is in the VERY FIRST sentence. Is this REALLY one his most defining attributes. As a Jew, I really find this offensive. Is EVERY person of Jewish decent who has a bio treated this way on Wikipedia?? I am really NOT trying to be unreasonable and I am sorry if it came across that way....Tom 2/28/06

Many biographies on Wikipedia prominently mention the race/culture/religion/nationality of the individual, ESPECIALLY when it was important. In Teller's case, it was. Had he NOT been Jewish, he would NOT have been forced to leave [a] Hungary and [b] Germany, he would most likely NOT have emigrated to the United States, he would NOT have participated in the nuclear program, and would probably have been a non-entity. He is famous because of a turn in the road that he was compelled to make.
At another level, it's no different from Iain Duncan-Smith's biography mentioning that he has Japanese ancestry. David Cannon 10:06, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Jewish descent?[edit]

Can someone be of Jewish descent? I always thought we used that term (descent) to denote nationality and not religion ... or not? Just wondering. Davehorne 18:31, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

MY OPINION...I consider myself American, not Jewish first off. The State of Israel didn't exist until about 50 years ago, so people DO consider themselves of Jewish decent since Judism is like a tribe thats been around thousands of years. I am sure the Judism page has devoted HUGE writings to this and I am probably butchering this subject since I am NO expert. My point is...great, he is of Jewish decent..AWESOME!! But does this belong in the very FIRST sentence about the guy?? Is it important?? SURE, but its mentioned in his family life. Again, I looked at other famous Jewish bios and was glad to see that the ethnic/descent/whathaveyou wasn't in many of the very FIRST sentences..respect comments welcomed....Tom 2/28/06

Not sure where to throw in my opinion, but the subject intrigued me, so here goes: Far as I can tell, the term "Isaeli" denotes citizenship, "Jewish" is the religion, and "Hebrew" would be ethnicity. Any thoughts on that? Engr105th 03:39, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
  • As referenced on the Jew page, beginning the in the 18th century the idea as being "Jewish" as a nationality started taking hold, and continues un-abated (See African-American). The idea is to denote a unique cultural heritage which supercedes nation/state and probably influenced their lives as much as their place of birth. So for many people, Jews and Gentiles, it is a reference as part of cultural heritage. Myself and surely many others sympathize that you take offense to the reference, but it's a pro forma thing that you aren't going to be able to get rid off. I don't think 98% of the people see "Jewish" and take it disparagingly. --TKE 22:23, 28 February 2006

excuse me TKE ,but the "jewish nation" IS NOT 18 century idea, please read the WHOLE jew page.

It does not belong in the first sentence. I'm not even sure that Hungarian-born does either. I have slightly re-tweaked it to place the "father of the hydrogen bomb" into the first sentence, which produces a very nice summary of what the article is about. It would probably be best to move "Hungarian-born" to the (now) second sentence, creating "Born in Hungary, Teller moved to...". The Jewish bit...well, there's probably a good place for that, too. I'm just wary of tweaking a current FA too much. Stevage 22:31, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks TKE. Where does cultural heritage belong in a bio? First line? Second? Middle? It just seems that if it is OVER emphasized, it is a form of racism. Also, I think you would be surprised by the %s of people who do take offense, IMO. Tom 2/28/06

WOW, even having it in the 2nd line makes me feel better :) go figure...Tom 2/28/06

  • Well, as a biography, I think cultural roots are significant. You know, being the story of his life and all. If you are a student or scholar of American history, seeing his D.O.B. and the fact that he was a Hungarian-born Jew who immigrated tells me alot about social, economic, and political circumstances he is going to be dealing with; therefore giving me a good idea of where things are going to go. Being a Jew in Europe at that time was a decidedly bad place at a bad time. Suppose that without his having to come to America, atomic researched could have been altered significantly. So yes, I think it is very useful. --TKE 22:52, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Identity politics[edit]

Is there a reason suddenly a dozen editors are at this article scrutinizing some very basic points about him which are common to dozens of Wikipedia biographies? There is nothing in the description of Teller that is different from how he is described in most encyclopedias or history books. The first two sentences of the Encyclopedia Brittanica article on Teller are: "Hungarian-born American nuclear physicist who participated in the production of the first atomic bomb (1945) and who led the development of the world's first thermonuclear weapon, the hydrogen bomb. Teller was from a family of prosperous Hungarian Jews." It then goes into more detail about his early life in Budapest. --Fastfission 00:15, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

  • I agree. I just stepped in since the Tom fellow was going ape all over this talk page. And looky, the new Featured Article marks him as "Irish-Canadian." :)--TKE 00:23, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
  • I see in looking at it again that "a dozen" was a bit of an exaggeration, but I suppose it just felt that way looking at the activity about this question! It is the sort of thing I've seen come up for people whose places of birth and the politics of them at the time are in dispute -- i.e. Copernicus, who seems to attract no end of people with stakes in saying he was Prussian or Polish respectively -- and I've never seen people concerned about it in respects to Teller, whose being Hungarian is universally discussed as a key feature of his identity and personality, and whose Jewish heritage is integral to much of his biographical details (and, amongst nuclear physicists of the 1930s and 1940s, is not at all a unique characteristic). So I find it puzzling more than anything else. --Fastfission 02:01, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
  • It would only rarely come up had this not been featured. As a fellow budding historian I too feel the frustrations that occur in sorting out importance and unimportance, and what constitutes significance. I find on here that too often people want to contest a word like "Prussian" since it can rile emotions. People have trouble figuring out that heritage is important, not inflammitory. I was going to mention Oppenheimer and Einstein, but figured that if you're literate on the subject you'd know. I'm also glad that Tom stopped his edits after the warning and took it to the talk page, I hoped to shed some light as the the methodology of historical annotation, something that's significantly overlook in subverting edit wars. I noticed that these arguments frustrated you as mentioned on your page, and it does myself as well. I hope to clarify some of these future worthless frustrations on these topics, as Gdansk needed early on.--TKE 05:47, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
  • David Hollinger has a nice term (at least, I think I heard him say it) he uses for talking about most discussions of heritage -- it swings in between the poles of "boosters" and "bigots". Either people want to label people as Jewish because they hate Jews (and think it shows something), or they want to label them as Jewish because they think Jews are the greatest; very little middle ground, and interesting in the way that they both profit from an over-emphasis on heritage. That being said, the Jewishness of the 1930s physicists, especially Manhattan Project emigres, is so well-discussed in the literature that not noting it feels very strange, though I can to some degree sympathize with the suspicion of labeling people Jewish in places where it doesn't seem necessary (hence on most pages about Teller here, I think he refers to him as Hungarian, but not Jewish, specifically). Ah well. Anyway hopefully this will blow over a bit. I don't know how religious Teller was, though a look at his memoirs would probably inform that. --Fastfission 23:54, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Legacy bit I removed[edit]

I removed the following from the "Legacy" section:

Perhaps Teller's greatest legacy was as a scientist of fierce courage, who worked tirelessly to advance causes he believed in, despite scathing popular and professional castigation. His support for research to develop defenses against nuclear weapons, also controversial, had an impact on the closing years of the Cold War. It also proved to be prescient in the face of post-Cold War nuclear proliferation.

If we want to quote someone (and there are such people out there) who say that Teller was really like this, that's fine, but putting it in the article without attribution clearly violates WP:NPOV. I'll try to find time to find a good summary of the "positive" assessments of Teller (his Medal of Freedom ceremony probably had some of them), but anyway I wanted to make it clear that I didn't just remove it because I disagreed with it. --Fastfission 02:15, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

I added the offending paragraph, and after reviewing your point, I agree with your decision.
Wellspring 21:31, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

A contradiction[edit]

This is from the section on SDI: "Bethe, along with IBM physicist Richard Garwin, coauthored an article in Scientific American which analyzed the system and concluded that any putative enemy could disable such a system by the use of suitable decoys. The project's funding was eventually scaled back."

This implies that the article was written in response specifically to the SDI proposal. But here's what Hans Bethe has to say:

"In 1960, Bethe, along with IBM physicist Richard Garwin, wrote an article criticising in detail the new anti-ICBM defense system that the government was planning to install. In the article that was published in Scientific American, the two physicists described in detail how almost any countermeasure that the US could take would be futile, as the enemy would be able to thwart the system through the use of suitable decoys."

SDI wasn't around in 1960, so according to this passage, the article was written in response to a different anti-ICBM system.

My question is: which is right? I don't know enough about the history to say when the article was authored. Gershwinrb 19:18, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, I hadn't noticed that. I'll figure out which is which. --Fastfission 19:48, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

I believe the anti-ICBM system that Robert McNamara advocated in 1960 or so was against potential Chinese ballistic missiles, and I think that is why Bethe and Garwin penned their article- Ashujo June 9, 2006 (UTC)

A candid observation[edit]

I heard him talk three times. The first was when I was in high-school. He was impressive, especially his eyebrows. The second was about a legitimately unorthodox explanation of quasars. The funny thing about that was that he theorised the biggest possible explosion, as he did in his more important activities. The third was a lecture to the general public. In that, though he had no axe to grind, he nonetheless deviated from real physics to impress his audience.

He said that corn, with enough calories, would not supply people with nutrition because it would not sink enough entropy. That is completely wrong, and he would have known that, if he thought about it for more than a minute. The nutritional deficiencies of starch have nothing to do with the difference between counting food in energy or in entropy, and the only reason he could have said so is that he had no scientific integrity, and was only interested in his audience's reaction. The best that could be said is that he spoke as though he had knowledge about a subject about which he was uninformed. This was the most unscientific performance of a scientist that I have ever heard. I only wish it had been so easy to publish this when he was still alive and destructive. David R. Ingham 09:41, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

When it comes to unscientific, you obviously haven't heard James D. Watson speak! His discourse on female obesity and sex drive given at UC Berkeley a few years ago would have been amusing, were it not so patently offensive. :) Fishhead64 05:15, 24 April 2006 (UTC) This was gratuitous, I apologise. Fishhead64 05:38, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Well it depends if you weight entropy only on a thermal base ? True burning your dried body give the same calories count than burning dried corn, but ordering the full range of proteins you should feed on, give you not only the ability to move fingers on a keyboard but to do it in an orderly manner, and in absence of said deficiencie to pursue thought beyond setting things afire...

Infobox[edit]

In put in the infobox because the Teller article is pretty lengthy and needed something to neatly summarize his information. Whether or not it is "ugly" is a matter of taste. I would imagine that many more readers find it useful. -- Rglovejoy 16:41, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

"Ugly" is certainly a matter of taste, but I think that anything which squishes a perfectly good photo to being almost illegible so that it can display a mix of important-but-already-mentioned fields (date of birth, death, name, etc. which are all in the first paragraph) along with a mixture of fields which would be almost useless to most people (a list of the institutions he had been at? who needs to know this?) doesn't make any sense to me. I don't see how "many more readers" could possibly "find it useful" — almost all of the information is either useful but redundant or would only be "useful" to a very, very small subset of readers. I find the definition of "useful" here to likely be a matter of taste as well. I don't see any great benefit added by the box, and I think the article looked better before the box was added. Looking at them side by side, one looks clean and simple, the other looks cluttered, forced, and a victory of pseudo-functionality over straightforwardness. The infobox does not in any way summarize the article; it simply lists a lot of facts, most of which are not necessary for people to know in this case and do not by themselves enhance understanding. I think that infoboxes are very useful in some case — court cases, for example, or for showing information about people in a series, such as presidents — but I don't think adding them for individual biographies need be done, and certainly shouldn't be done when it really makes the article look awful. --Fastfission 18:23, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Rglovejoy and personally find the infobox less ugly than white space. I also find it a useful navigational aid. The answers to all the questions of Fastfission can be found in the consentual discussion at [5]. Consequently I have been bold and have replaced the infobox. SureFire 12:55, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Of course, anything I say is my POV but the box does not look ugly to me. I personally find it useful to glance at biographical infoboxes before reading the main article. It has many time-saving benefits for me. I agree as per Rglovejoy and SureFire. I vote keep. But having said that there is some truth in what Fastfission says...I am slightly irked by line spacing in the infobox. It sometimes looks a little uneven, hence back to the ugly issue. However, I don't think that is a reason to remove these boxes as I'm sure a software savant will come along and fix it someday.SuperGirl 22:08, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
Dare I ask what time-saving benefits it gives you or anyone else? People have touted infoboxes as "saving time" and "providing a useful summary" but I've yet to hear exactly what in the infobox is of any use to people. This one is 90% listing of places where Teller worked for various amounts of time (sometimes quite short, and in this case one, "Manhattan Project", which was not actually an institution) and having such a list tells you really nothing about what Teller was doing at each place. I am also quite surprised that people would rather have pointless text filling up whitespace rather than a decent image—the infobox reduces the image width by almost 50%; is a half-sized image better than a little whitespace? What a lousy trade-off. Taking up that whitespace also, as a wonderful side-effect, makes the "hide" function on the table of contents box totally worthless (the template then intrudes into the article text). If you ask me, the whitespace caused by the table of contents box is something to tolerate until a "software savant" finds a way to do it better rather than using unwieldy templates. But of course nobody asked me. --Fastfission 21:45, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Tellers dubious stance against using the bomb on military targets[edit]

Hello, Fastfission, your remark "if it is included at all" wonders me. It is a definite source which contradicts Teller's claim that he was against the use of the bomb on Japan, so it is highly important. Especially because Tellers stance without the letter was unclear anyway: he neither signed the petition of Szilard against the bombing nor the approval of the Scientific Panel lead by Oppenheimer. The source is the review of Barton Bernstein:

Review of: Better a Shield Than a Sword: Perspectives on Defense and Technology from Edward Teller Barton J. Bernstein Technology and Culture, Vol. 31, No. 4. (Oct., 1990), pp. 846-861.

I think that should suffice, but I can look out for the source of the letter, too. --136.172.253.189 20:54, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Odd Phrasing[edit]

However, there is contradictory evidence. In the seventies of the twentieth century a letter of Teller to Szilard emerged, dated on July 2nd, 1945

I was wondering why this is written in such a odd style but I didn't want to change it since I wasn't sure if it should be written in a numerical style ( 1970's ) or as nineteen seventies Garda40 22:45, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Chemtrails connection?[edit]

The name of Edward Teller can be found in articles covering the Chemtrails and Global dimming, like e.g. here and at all here or here. Is all this material too untrustable not to mention the connection? Kriplozoik 00:56, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Teller was a known right wing government scientist who worked on secret weapons in a secret laboratory. It is no surprise, nor very notable, that he figures into conspiracy theories about government plots. From what I can tell the reference is simply that Teller proposed a potential way to start global dimming in 1997 (and was not the first to propose such a thing), and then it inferred (but not stated) that maybe the government has started doing that. A pretty tenuous link. --24.147.86.187 19:07, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Physical description[edit]

I don't see any at all - I think we should at least include his lameness (from a Munich street-car accident, Herken, p. 25); but a full description would be better. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:55, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Two genuine difficulties[edit]

There are two statements, thanks to Lingnut, for which I have not yet found sources:

the degree of credit assigned to Teller by his contemporaries is almost exactly commensurate with how well they thought of Teller generally.

This is a very plausible statement, and I believe that some source has said it, but it depends on what "how well they thought of" Teller is supposed to mean. It is unlikely that anyone who believed Teller was claiming Ulam's credit would think highly of him; and if approval of Teller's politics is implied, Hans Bethe is a major exception.

The plan actually received the endorsement of the Alberta government, but was rejected by the Government of Canada under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. In addition to being opposed to having nuclear weapons in Canada, Diefenbaker was concerned that such a project would intensify Soviet espionage in Northern Canada.

(The only unsourced part here is the bit actually in italics; the rest is supported by the film review cited.) I have no reason to doubt that the rest is true; the reasoning would be wholly characteristic of Diefenbaker; but I do not see exact verification. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:41, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

  • I have removed the first, and adjusted the second to indicate exactly what is unsourced. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:57, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Bethe is probably the only major exception, but he had rather complicated agenda, though. Anyway, the line can easily be qualified/minimized/removed. It's not a huge deal, though it is pretty much accurate. --Fastfission (talk) 22:43, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Teller's nephew[edit]

'Memoirs', by E. Teller and a co-author, mentions Janos Kirz, as his sister's son, several times, and describes how Teller assisted in Kirz's emigration to the U.S. from Hungary. Dr. Kirz is a noted physicsit who has developed the field of X-Ray microscopy, principally at Brookhaven National Laboratory. His research endeavors are soon moving to the West Coast. I met Dr. Kirz while I was a graduate student between 1975 to 1979 at The State University of New York at StonyBrook, where he is a Distinguished Professor of Physics. 65.132.69.104 (talk) 05:17, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Teller (magician)[edit]

The article contained the claim that Teller (born Raymond Joseph Teller), the silent half of Penn & Teller, is Edward Teller's son. This claim was uncited and directly contradicts the article on the magician. If anyone can find a reliable source for this fact then both articles should be modified. WLior (talk) 15:02, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Spurious reference created by known vandal. Can be safely ignored. WLior (talk) 15:13, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, it's not true. The only children of Edward and Mici Teller were Paul and Wendy. No magicians. --24.147.69.31 (talk) 23:12, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

What about family life ?[edit]

Did this guy not have a family (or at least a spouse - or was he so disliked by everyone that he didn't even succeed in that)?

If he neither had family nor relationships should that lack of social life (and perhaps ability to relate to other people) not be mentioned in the article?

I think it quite significant !

Comments on this (better still, changes in the article - are appreciated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.174.83.250 (talk) 07:55, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps I should say that while I did now see that there is a very short reference (strangely in the 'Early Life an Education' section! - Did not occur to me to chase that information in that section, I have to confess) to him being married indeed ("In February 1934, he married 'Mici' [Augusta Maria] Harkanyi") I still find it very curious that in all Wikipedia biographies that I have read there is a section on social and family life and connection but not with Teller !

And of course (besides the quote above in this discussion page there is no reference to any offspring. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.174.83.250 (talk) 08:03, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

He has two children, Peter and Wendy. They are both currently alive. --98.217.8.46 (talk) 03:03, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

I recollect that the article used to mention his spouse and children. Not having this information makes him seem not quite human. Paul Studier (talk) 01:28, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

It is quite odd that there's no section on his personal life. Most such entries have one -- including that for J. Robert Oppenheimer, for example. Sca (talk) 22:30, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Teller's face[edit]

There is nothing out of the ordinary in Dr. Teller's face in the picture at the start of the Wikipedia article. However, pictures of him taken in later years show his right eye as almost disappeared, and his mouth apparently "clenched" at an odd angle. Esquire quoted his newspaper ad alongside such a picture; did he get that way by sheer aging or did something happen to him? He appeared to have acquired a permanent squint, if that makes sense. Dougie monty (talk) 05:30, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

I think it's aging. Only some of his older photos have that, though it is pronounced. --98.217.8.46 (talk) 03:03, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Sagan comments[edit]

Where are the Carl Sagan's comments (criticism) about Teller? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 201.88.44.13 (talk) 05:46, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Teller's Phobia of Bridges[edit]

I worked at UC Berkeley from 1983 until 2006. In the mid 80s a took advantage of a program where a van pool was formed using a UC Berkeley owned van driven by UC Berkeley students. As I began to talk daily with these students I heard an interesting story about Edward Teller. It was these student's job to give a ride to Dr. Teller from Berkeley to Stanford upon his request. The challenge for these students was to remember never to take one of the Bay bridges to get there and back. Dr. Teller had a terrible phobia of bridges.

On our daily rides we would discuss Dr. Teller and his history. We discussed Oppenheimer and how much Teller hated him and how badly Teller behaved (in all our opinions). The young drivers and I took to imagining their driving Dr. Teller out to the Golden Gate Bridge, stopping the van, putting on the flashers, getting out and walking away, leaving Dr. Teller to fend for himself. It was just a fantasy of young people looking toward creating justice.

It is interesting to me in all I see written on Dr. Teller that his phobia is never reported.

Berkeley survivor (talk) 07:08, 27 January 2009 (UTC)Berkeley SurvivorBerkeley survivor (talk) 07:08, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

NPOV[edit]

Example of NPOV problems:

  • Image:Edward Teller (1958)-LLNL.jpg. The title:Teller's testimony against Robert Oppenheimer in 1954 furthered his process of alienation from many of his former Los Alamos colleagues is inadequate, wrong, tendencious.
  • Image:Edward Teller and Ronald Reagan.jpg, whith the mention: (Edward Teller and Ronald Reagan, photograph from when Reagan awarded Teller the National Medal of Science in 1983. [*Source: http://www.llnl.gov/pao/news/teller_edward/teller_edward/teller_photos/teller_photos2.html *Credit: Lawr)], gats the tendencious title: Teller became a major lobbying force of the Strategic Defense Initiative to President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.
  • "Teller authored a two-page spread in the Wall Street Journal which appeared on July 31, 1979, under the headline "I was the only victim of Three-Mile Island" (...)"

"The next day, The New York Times ran an editorial criticizing the ad, noting that it was sponsored by Dresser Industries, ..." Sponsored?!? for an article in Wall Street Journal?

  • Etc., etc., etc. Alex F. (talk) 12:46, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alex F. (talkcontribs) 23:49, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

On every point here I think you are wrong:
  • Teller's testimony against Oppenheimer did hurt his standing with former colleagues at Los Alamos. This is well documented and Teller himself claimed this (people wouldn't shake his hand, etc.). Source: Herken's book.
  • Teller did lobby for SDI to Reagan. Source: Broad's book.
  • The ad in the Wall Street Journal (it was an ad, not an article) was sponsored by Dresser Industries (it said so quite clearly at the bottom of the ad).
So what's the NPOV problem, again? --Mr.98 (talk) 00:34, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, of course, there is no answer to why the titles of the Tellers' photos were changed by tendencious, insinuative comments as: "Teller became a major lobbying force of the Strategic Defense Initiative to President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s", and "...furthered his process of alienation from many of his former Los Alamos colleagues", both without any clear and direct connection to the images. -Alex F. (talk) 09:50, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

I think that there are substantial tone problems with this article, which seems generally slanted against Teller. I personally agree with this slant, but I don't think it's right for Wikipedia. Figureofnine (talk) 22:41, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Yes the article is very unbalanced. Yes, some leftist scientists did not like his testimony, but many others were of the opinion that Oppenheimer was a security risk. Roger (talk) 22:25, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I wouldn't say "many," but apart from that I still maintain the tone is not apropos. Figureofnine (talk) 17:14, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure I see the tone issue. The section on the Oppenheimer hearing is pretty straightforward and always has been, with the exception of the occasional attempts to insert anti-Oppenheimer stuff into it. That Teller was ostracized by the larger scientific community as a result is eminently documentable and even Teller claimed it to be the case. I think the article represents the man pretty well on his own terms. They happen to be terms that are fairly controversial, but they are his own. --Mr.98 (talk) 00:10, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
That was my general impression reading the article at the time. I think it could still use some tweaking. Figureofnine (talk) 15:22, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Manhattan Project wasn't an institution[edit]

Why is it listed as such? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.6.52.117 (talk) 02:36, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

No, but I think that there's no need to parse it further from the standpoint of the infobox. Figureofnine (talk) 15:41, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Lead description of Teller[edit]

A new user account is insistently removing the reference to Teller in the lead as an "American," so that the article now refers to him as "Austro-Hungarian." Figureofnine (talk) 21:48, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

was he all nuclear?[edit]

I reaLize his nuclear work was large, but the way Jahn-Teller and BET are handled as afterthoughts when they are Nobel level contributions in chemistry seems strange. TCO (talk) 06:38, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

nEVER MIND, IT'S IN THE ARTICLE. TCO (talk) 06:39, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

File:EdwardTeller1958 fewer smudges.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:EdwardTeller1958 fewer smudges.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on January 15, 2012. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2012-01-15. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page so Wikipedia doesn't look bad. :) Thanks! howcheng {chat} 06:59, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Picture of the day
Edward Teller

Edward Teller (1908–2003) was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist, known colloquially as "the father of the hydrogen bomb". Teller was born in Budapest and emigrated to the United States in 1935. He was an early member of the Manhattan Project charged with developing the first atomic bombs. He was an early proponent of a fusion weapon, which most of his contemporaries believed was infeasible. In 1951, he and Polish mathematician Stanisław Ulam finally made the breakthrough which made the hydrogen bomb possible.

Photo: US Department of Energy; Restoration: Greg L/PLW
ArchiveMore featured pictures...


Teller was a Soviet puppet?[edit]

"He insisted on involving more theorists, since he knew that Klaus Fuchs could provide the Soviets with valuable ideas; it was Fuchs who invented compression by means of radiation implosion back in 1946.[14]"

If I'm not totally reading this wrong, this is an extraordinary assertion based, apparently, on one Russian source? Am I reading this correctly, that it is being said that Teller 'knew' that Fuchs was a spy, that Fuchs would give designs to the Soviets, and that he, Teller, shaped the team to force this situation? That Teller purposefully facilitated spying for the Soviets? Oh... and by the way, that it was neither Teller or Ulam who discovered the fusion by radiation compression, but Fuchs?!!

This is a really extraordinary statement to go unchallenged for 15 months. Somewhat like offhandedly inserting that calculus was discovered by neither Newton nor Leibniz but Prince Eugene, who was in the pay of the French. This text added by this change back in October 2010 by User:Ggorelik aka Gennady Gorelik? The referenced text is for-pay at IOPScience

Doesn't anybody read the text? 24.28.17.231 (talk) 05:31, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Here is the aggregate dif of revisions by Ggorelik. The Russian source is here. It is detailed and quite neutral; it does not confirm the statement "it was Fuchs who invented compression by means of radiation implosion back in 1946". It rather says this: (i) Teller considered the Teller-Ulam configuration just a minor modification of previously existing designs; (ii) Fuchs actively worked on this problem; (iii) Teller expressed concerns that Russians could materialize the Teller-Ulam configuration earlier than Americans, if Fuchs hinted them the idea; (iv) Fuchs stated at the FBI interrogations in 1950 that it was he who proposed the original idea of implosion design in 1946, but he did not pass this idea to Russians. Materialscientist (talk) 06:13, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
I've tweaked the text, avoiding ambiguities, but also sparing the above details. Materialscientist (talk) 06:32, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Business card quote[edit]

If the page is going to quote Edward (twice visited his office on Family Days on the top floor of B 111), the page needs his one-line quote on his business cards he printed up for Project Chariot. 143.232.210.150 (talk) 22:29, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Was Teller a conservative?[edit]

Some sources state that he was the "darling" of the conservative movement due to his ultra-hawkish proclivities. But is that enough? John Prados writes "By 1975 PFIAB was a home for such conservatives as ... Edward Teller. [6] We should incorporate this into the article. – Lionel (talk) 11:32, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Teller was certainly on the conservative side, and the Hoover Institution, for which he was a fellow, is regarded as a conservative think tank. However, note that there were much more radical, right-wing figures in the Manhattan Project, such as Ernest Lawrence. It's certainly worth mentioning Teller's conservative positions and associations in the article. Describing him personally as a conservative is likely warranted as well but demands more than a single good source. Describing him as a "darling" of conservatives, even if true, definitely requires more than one reliable source. Nageh (talk) 12:42, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Oregon Petition[edit]

"He is a signatory of the Oregon Petition." Has anyone been able to establish whether this is true? The petition was bombarded with fake names. He may very well have signed it. But there are serious doubts. — ThePowerofX 12:26, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

Seems like original research to me. I've taken it out. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 22:42, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Theoretical or Nuclear Physics?[edit]

Can someone please provide citation on Teller being theoretician or nuclear physicist? What we learned from history, he was aligned as theoretical physics. What is his field? Please provide citations. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.0.20.187 (talk) 04:49, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

The two terms are not mutually exclusive. If the father of the H-bomb isn't a nuclear scientist, I don't know who is. I have no problem with him being called a theoretical physicist or nuclear physicist. The source you cite calls him theoretical and that seems fine. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 22:38, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
I agree with you on "I have no problem with him being called a theoretical physicist or nuclear physicist."; they both are fields of physics. But thereoreticians are "way" different from those who are actual nuclear physicists. Theorists uses mathematics a lot (they use calculus and linear algebra insanely!; I know cos' I am of them). Nuclear physicist are experts in chemistry and atomic physics, they use chemistry more often than mathematics (like Stoichiometry; balancing equations and theoretical yields). This is why I asked about his particular field, there is a huge difference in both fields. Because he was theoreticians, his theories (on bombs and whatever his advocacy in projects in Alaksa) were fun to hear but practically, they were economically and scientifically unfeasible. And, for H-Bomb theory, Teller had to work with mathematicians on the theory of thermonuclear process rather than "Hard-bitten" nuclear physicists (like Hans Bethe). May be that is why, Professor Bethe had intellectual differences with him. Anyway, thanks for the quick response, that was very helpful.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.0.20.187 (talk) 04:49, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

OK, I defer to your greater knowledge of the field. I suggest that you create a user ID and contribute in this area. Your expertise is welcome. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 19:13, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Very much so. What I can tell you as a historian is that the difference between theoretical and nuclear physics became the way you describe only in the second half of the 20th century. The two fields really diverged from the 1960s on. When we go back to the early years of the years of the century, before the Second World War, the difference between theoretical and experimental physics was much less distinct. Hawkeye7 (talk) 19:58, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

I'm afraid that I disagree with much of this. A "nuclear physicist" is one who studies the physics of the atomic nucleus. You can do this either experimentally (using particle accelerators or the like) or theoretically (using mathematics and computers). So you can be a "theoretical nuclear physicist" or an "experimental nuclear physicist". The term "nuclear physicist" covers both equally. And it is the same I guess in almost all branches of science - you could for example study the chemistry of polymers experimentally (in test tubes) or theoretically (mathematical models etc) and so be an "experimental polymer chemist" or a "theoretical polymer chemist", both could be called "polymer chemists". Further, I disagree completely with the statement "Nuclear physicist are experts in chemistry and atomic physics". Nuclear physics is quite different from atomic physics, and even more different from chemistry. A person studying the make up of the atomic nucleus (its constituents, how they are bound together, what happens if the nucleus is disrupted etc etc) would be a "nuclear physicist", but would not normally be expected to have more than a passing knowlege of atomic physics or chemistry. Neither can I agree with the statements about a separation between theoretical and experimental physics being a post 19060s phenomena. Look at many of the great physicists of the early 20th century - Heisenberg Pauli, Dirac and of course Einstein - they were all theoretical physicists, and to my knowlege none of them did any experimental physics to speak of.Baska436 (talk) 04:34, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Teller/Fonda[edit]

   I removed [Teller acted quickly to lobby] "[I]n response to" [Fonda's activism]" as unsourced and implausible. He would surely have spoken out for nukes with or without her; what is to the point in that sentence is that she was a target of opportunity, particular in light of the existing critics of her, on the right, as Hanoi Jane. To say "in response to", you'd have to document him denying that he intended to speak out on the subject until he realized that she was.
   I agree with 9 years of previous editors that Teller "blamed" Fonda for his heart attack (well, maybe he was less a fool than he sounds, and blamed her with his words but not in his own mind), but he did not use the word "blame", rather insinuating it. I've cited enuf examples of people who were freer than we to write their opinions abt him trying to communicate blame, that i think changing our assertion to say that he was widely described as blaming her brings the passage up to our standard of NOR.
   I saw my edit as putting out a fire (well, stamping out flaming ducks), and that took a while. I think the sources i added are sufficient but displayed in an ugly manner; perhaps someone will be impatient enuf to clean up after me before i get it straight in my head how to use the predominant style of the page, esp as it applies to the 5 examples of blame-observing that i put under one footnote. (Note that at least a couple of these are from works already cited on the page when i started.) Ugly, but hopefully helpful, esp. in the long run.
--Jerzyt 08:16, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Teller and the Strategic Defense Initiative[edit]

Teller became a major lobbying force of the Strategic Defense Initiative to President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.


// I'm proposing the following additions and edits to the SDI section of Teller's page. Feedback would be appreciated, as well as some help with the correct formatting.//

In November of 1980, Teller and the scientists at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory carried out the first successful test of an X-ray laser beam, code named Dauphin. The successful test permitted, in Teller’s eyes, for the creation of a revolutionary antimissile weapons system. He attempted to lobby the Pentagon for continued testing without success, in great part due the experiment’s need for a nuclear explosion. Teller and the other Lawrence scientists continued to research the possible use for the laser, which they dubber Excalibur, openly positing it could be used to destroy targets in space. 1 In an issue of Aviation week and Space Technology, Teller was quoted saying ““X-ray lasers based on the successful Dauphin test . . . are so small that a single payload bay on the space shuttle could carry to orbit a number sufficient to stop a Soviet nuclear weapons attack.” 2

Teller then attracted the attention of Daniel O. Graham and Karl R. Bendetsen while recruiting to create the nonprofit group called they then called High Frontier. The group, initially created to draft an independent study on space-antimissile-defense, was then asked by Martin Anderson, head of the Office for Policy Development, to create a briefing for the President. 3

The briefing evolved into hat later became Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), derided by critics as "Star Wars," the concept of using ground and satellite-based lasers, particle beams and missiles to destroy incoming Soviet ICBMs. Teller lobbied and got the approval of President Ronald Reagan—for a plan to develop a system using elaborate satellites which used atomic weapons to fire X-ray lasers at incoming missiles— as part of a broader scientific research program into defenses against nuclear weapons. Scandal erupted when Teller (and his associate Lowell Wood) were accused of deliberately overselling the program and perhaps had encouraged the dismissal of a laboratory director (Roy Woodruff) who had attempted to correct the error.[1] His claims led to a joke which circulated in the scientific community, that a new unit of unfounded optimism was designated as the teller; one teller was so large that most events had to be measured in nanotellers or picotellers. Many prominent scientists argued that the system was futile. Bethe, along with IBM physicist Richard Garwin and Cornell University colleague Kurt Gottfried, wrote an article in Scientific American which analyzed the system and concluded that any putative enemy could disable such a system by the use of suitable decoys. A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, which Bethe and Garwin largely authored, made similar claims stating thousands of space-based stations would be necessary for an effective defense. The UCS study was found to be inaccurate, they later revised the number of stations down to the hundreds. 4 SDI’s funding was eventually scaled back.[citation needed]

Many scientists opposed strategic defense on moral or political rather than purely technical grounds. They argued that, even if an effective system could be produced, it would undermine the system of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) that had prevented all-out war between the western democracies and the communist bloc. An effective defense, they contended, would make such a war "winnable" and therefore more likely.[1]

Despite (or perhaps because of) his hawkish reputation, Teller made a public point of noting that he regretted the use of the first atomic bombs on civilian cities during World War II.[citation needed] He further claimed that before the bombing of Hiroshima he had indeed lobbied Oppenheimer to use the weapons first in a "demonstration" which could be witnessed by the Japanese high-command and citizenry before using them to inflict thousands of deaths.

However contained in a 1987 book by Teller, a letter dated July 2, 1945 from Teller to Leó Szilárd states in part:

"...Our only hope is in getting the facts of our results before the people. This might help convince everybody the next war would be fatal. For this purpose, actual combat-use might even be the best thing."[2]

In 1990, the historian Barton Bernstein argued that it is an "unconvincing claim" by Teller that he was a "covert dissenter" to the use of the weapon.[3] In his 2001 Memoirs, Teller claims that he did lobby Oppenheimer, but that Oppenheimer had convinced him that he should take no action and that the scientists should leave military questions in the hands of the military; Teller claims he was not aware that Oppenheimer and other scientists were being consulted as to the actual use of the weapon and implies that Oppenheimer was being hypocritical.[4]

Teller had used this quasi-anti-nuclear weapons stance (he would say that he believed nuclear weapons to be unfortunate, but that the arms race was unavoidable due to the intractable nature of Communism) to promote technologies such as SDI,[citation needed] arguing that they were needed to make sure that nuclear weapons could never be used again.[citation needed]

In 1987 he published a book supporting civil defense and active protection systems such as SDI which was titled Better a shield than a sword and his views on the role of lasers in SDI, as disclosed in live panel discussions, were published, and are available, in two 1986-7 laser conference proceedings.[5][6]


(my sources, not sure how to include this into the pre-existing article) 1.FitzGerald, Frances, Simon & Schuster; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (February 21, 2001) , Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0684844168 2.Wills, Reagan’s America, p. 258 3.FitzGerald, Frances, Simon & Schuster; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (February 21, 2001) , Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0684844168

4.Ibid

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference broad was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Teller, Edward: Better a Shield than a Sword: Perspectives on Defense and Technology, The Free Press, New York, 1987 p. 57 ISBN 0-02-932461-0.
  3. ^ Essay Review-From the A-Bomb to Star Wars: Edward Teller's History. Better A Shield Than a Sword: Perspectives on Defense and Technology Technology and Culture, Vol. 31, No. 4. (Oct., 1990), p. 848
  4. ^ Teller, Memoirs, pp. 206–209.
  5. ^ Wang, C. P. (Ed.), Proceedings of the International Conference on Lasers '85 (STS, McLean, Va, 1986).
  6. ^ Duarte, F. J. (Ed.), Proceedings of the International Conference on Lasers '87 (STS, McLean, Va, 1988).