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Memoirs: A Twentieth-Century Journey in Science and Politics
Synopses & Reviews
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 whose work on nuclear weapons was key to the American war effort, Teller has long believed in freedom through strong defense, a philosophy reflected in his stance on arms control and nuclear policy. These extraordinary recollections at last reveal the man behind the headlines-passionate and humorous, devoted and loyal. In clear and compelling prose, Teller tells of the people, events, and ideas that shaped him as a scientist, beginning with his early love of music and math, and continuing with his study of quantum physics with Werner Heisenberg. Present at many of the pivotal moments in modern science, Teller also describes his friendships with some of the century's greatest minds-Einstein, Bohr, Fermi, Szilard, von Neumann, Oppenheimer-and offers an honest account of the development of the atomic and hydrogen bombs. He also offers a moving portrait of his childhood, his marriage and family life, and his 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.
Book News Annotation:
Teller provides a record of his life and work. He tells of his childhood in Hungary, his education in—and later flight from<-- >Germany, and his contributions toward the development of the atomic and hydrogen bombs. He recounts his acquaintance with famous scientists including, most famously, his rivalry with Oppenheimer (but also his friendships with Bohr, Einstein, and Fermi). He presents his views on anti-Semitism, the Cold War, the nuclear test ban treaty, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and nuclear power.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The fascinating recollections of one of the most brilliant and controversial scientists of the 20th century.
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