Teller worked on the physics of the hydrogen bomb from 1941 forward and was instrumental in making possible the first successful U.S. explosion of the device on Nov. 1, 1952. Robert Oppenheimer had opposed the develop of the bomb on technical and moral grounds, and Teller later publicly called (1954) for his colleague's removal from positions involving national security, an act that alienated many within the scientific community. Teller received the 1962 Enrico Fermi Award For his contributions to the development, use, and control of nuclear energy; in 2003 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Teller, who distrusted arms control, was a supporter of a nuclear-powered X-ray laser missile defense system and a major proponent of President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative. His writings include The Legacy of Hiroshima (with Allen Brown, 1962), The Constructive Uses of Nuclear Explosives (with others, 1968), and Memoirs: A Twentieth-Century Journey in Science and Politics (2001).
See biography by P. Goodchild (2005); G. Herken, Brotherhood of the Bomb (2002).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Physics: Biographies