Edward Teller was a Hungarian-born American nuclear physicist who was instrumental in the production of the first atomic bomb as well the world’s first thermonuclear weapon, Hydrogen bomb. He is also known for his extraordinary contributions to nuclear and molecular physics, surface physics and spectroscopy (particularly the Jahn–Teller and Renner–Teller effects).
Early Life and Education:
Born in Budapest in a rich Hungarian Jewish family, Edward Teller earned a degree in chemical engineering at the Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe. He received his Ph.D. in particle chemistry from the University of Leipzig in 1930.
Contributions and Achievements:
Teller accepted a teaching position at the University of London in 1934. After joining George Washington University as a professor, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen after a few years in 1941. He became a part of the Manhattan Project during World War II. A few of his brilliant contributions included work on the first nuclear reactor, analysis of the effects of a fission explosion and research on a potential fusion reaction.
He was an active campaigner for civil defense since the 1950’s. Teller also worked as a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institute, where he studied the international and national policies of energy and defense. A few of the notable books he has written include “Conversations on the Dark Secrets of Physics Better a Shield Than a Sword”, “Pursuit of Simplicity” and “Energy from Heaven and Earth”.
Later Life and Death:
Edward Teller died in Stanford, California on September 9, 2003. He was 95 years old. The same year he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.