His Career

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The explosion of the first atomic bomb
Trinity atom bomb explosion
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Getting started:
    Teller's first position was an assistantship at the University of Gottingen. Edward would leave Gottingen due to the increasing level of anti-Semitism in Germany. Edward joined a growing exodus of jews leaving for safer countries like England and the United States. Teller took an assistantship in physics at the University College in London which fulfilled requirements that allowed him to Win a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship at the Copenhagen Institute for Theoretical Physics where he could work with Niels Bohr.

Moving to the United States:
    Shortly after returning to London as a lecturer in chemistry, Teller was offered two positions in the United States. One was a full professorship at George Washington University and the other was a lectureship at Princeton. Teller would take the Professorship and Emigrated to the United States in 1935. He would become a naturalized citizen in 1941. Teller would enjoy renewing old friendships and creating new ones during an enjoyable time until 1939. When Niels Bohr arrived form Europe with the news that nucleus of the atom had been split. This would begin the push for an American atomic bomb program.

Pushing for bomb construction:
    In March of 1939 Teller received a call from a friend Leo Szilard, Leo told Teller of the world's first known nuclear chain reaction. This for Teller and many others would mark the beginning of long hard journey. The result of this journey would initially be the first atomic bomb and would later lead to the first hydrogen bomb. Some of the initial problems with beginning the development of the atomic bomb were the United States governments distrust of many immigrant scientists, the lack of funding, the lack of support from the rest of the scientific community, and the militaries belief that the idea was too complex. Teller was also initially not ready to give up his theoretical physics work in order to push for support of an bomb. What changed tellers mind was speech given by President Roosevelt on May 10, 1940. Which called for scientists to join in the defense of "our science, our culture, our American freedom and our civilization." Teller was appointed as a consultant to The Uranium Committee. This led to Teller taking leave from George Washington University to spend a year at Colombia 1941-1942. During this time president Roosevelt had been removing the red tape hampering the development of the atomic bomb. Upon learning that the necessary amount of pure uranium to build a bomb would be only 5-10 kilograms, instead of the the huge amounts originally estimated Roosevelt granted authority to fund a secret project to develop an atomic bomb. The official go ahead for what was to become the Manhattan Project was given on October 9, 1941.

Working on the first atomic bomb:
Before arriving at Los Alamos Edward was already looking beyond nuclear fission and the atomic bomb to nuclear fusion an the creation of the "Super"(Teller's name for the hydrogen bomb).  He would become unhappy about the direction of research at Los Alamos after believing he would be allowed to work on the fusion bomb as well as the fission bomb, which did not happen.  This unhappiness led to friction between Teller and his division leader. This friction led to Teller being place on his own, Teller became the loner of Los Alamos. His  unhappiness and separation from having to work directly with the scientists at Los Alamos did not stop Teller from making contributions to bomb development. Teller working with John von Neumann  made important calculations dealing with the compressibility of the material at the center of an implosion like the material that would be at the center of a hydrogen bomb. The importance of these calculations was that they showed that much less fissionable material would be needed for the bomb than originally believed.  Teller also worked on "opacities, the rapid transport of heat by radiation expected at the very high temperatures of nuclear explosions" and problems encountered at the plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee that was separating nuclear isotopes. This list is fairly short and there was some controversy as to whether or not Teller had done his best to advance the bomb project.  On Monday, July 16, 1945 the scientists at Los Alamos witnessed the first nuclear explosion. Teller would leave Los Alamos in 1945 due to frustration with the post war work being done.

To Use the Bomb or Not?
Teller was one of a group of many scientist who believed that the first nuclear explosion used in war should be for demonstration purposes. The decision was made by others and two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan. The first was dropped on Hiroshima at 8:15 a.m., August 6, 1945. The second was dropped on Nagasaki three days later. The Japanese surrendered the next day August 10, 1945.

Later Career:
After leaving Los Alamos in 1945 Teller was one of a minority of advocates of continuing the research into a Hydrogen bomb.  He accepted a professorship at the university of Chicago and continued to lobby for funding for a hydrogen bomb project. In 1949 Teller would return to Los Alamos full time to continue research on the hydrogen bomb. On May 8, 1951 the Greenhouse George test of a thermonuclear device was successful, Teller was the "father of the H-bomb". Teller would go on to hold positions as Associate Director, Director and Director emeritus of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, professor of physics at the University of California, Chairman of the department of applied science at Livermore,  and senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Throughout his career Teller would be a major proponent of strong national defense and development of the sciences. He would support Reagan's Star Wars program as well as be a driving force at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory which would help to develop the careers of many young scientists.

His death:
    Edward Teller Died September 9, 2003 in Stanford California.
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