Memoirs : A twentieth-century journey in science and politics

by Edward Teller

Paperback, 2002




Perseus Books, 2002.


The story of Edward Teller is the story of the twentieth century. Born in Hungary in 1908, Teller witnessed the rise of Nazism and anti-Semitism, two world wars, the McCarthy era, and the changing face of big science. A brilliant and controversial figure, Teller brings to these events a perspective that is at once surprising and insightful. Edward Teller is perhaps best known for his belief in freedom through strong defense. But this extraordinary memoir at last reveals the man behind the headlines -- passionate and humorous, devoted and loyal. Never before has Teller told his story as fully as he does here. We learn Teller's true position on everything from the bombing of Japan to the pursuit of weapons research in the post-war years. In clear and compelling prose, Teller chronicles the people and events that shaped him as a scientist, beginning with his early love of music and math, and continuing with his study of quantum physics under Werner Heisenberg. Present at many of the pivotal moments in modern science, Teller also describes his relationships with some of the century's greatest minds -- Einstein, Bohr, Fermi, Szilard, von Neumann -- and offers an honest assessment of the development of the atomic and hydrogen bombs, the founding of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and his complicated relationship with J. Robert Oppenheimer. He also offers, for the first time, a moving portrait of his childhood, his marriage and family life, and his deep friendship with physicist Maria Mayer. Writing about those aspects of his life that have had important public consequences -- from his conservative politics to his relationships with scientists and presidents -- Teller reveals himself to be a man with deep beliefs about liberty, security, and the moral responsibility of science. - Jacket flap. The controversial scientist describes his early life in Hungary, his role in the development of the American nuclear weapons programs, his conservative politics, and his friendships with other distinguished scientists.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member ToniRy
Self-portrait of a man on dubious moral ground



Page: 0.5794 seconds