Edward Teller

Edward Teller was born January 15, 1908. He was a Hungarian-born American theoretical physicist, known colloquially as "the father of the hydrogen bomb," even while he did not care for the title. Teller emigrated to the United States in the 1930s, and was an untimely member of the Manhattan Project charged with developing the first atomic bombs. During this time he made a serious push to develop the first fusion-based weapons as well, but these were delayed until after World War II.

After his controversial testimony in the security authorization hearing of his former Los Alamos colleague J. Robert Oppenheimer, Teller was ostracized by much of the scientific society. He continued to find support from the U.S. government and military research establishment, particularly for his advocacy for nuclear energy expansion, a strong nuclear arsenal, and a vigorous nuclear testing program. He was a co-founder of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and was both its director and associate director for several years.

In his later years he became particularly known for his advocacy of controversial technological solutions to both military and civilian problems, including a plan to unearth an artificial harbor in Alaska using thermonuclear explosives. He was a vigorous advocate of Ronald Reagan's planned Defense Initiative, perhaps overselling the feasibility of the program. Over the course of his life, Teller was known both for his technical ability and his difficult interpersonal relations and volatile personality, and is considered one of the inspirations for the character Dr. Strangelove in the 1964 movie of the same name. He was dead on September 9, 2003.

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