OBITUARY: Edward Teller

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), September 12, 2003 | Go to article overview

OBITUARY: Edward Teller


HE WAS a one-footed, mathematical genius who could move from the chess board to the ping pong table with aplomb; but he was also the ``father of the hydrogen bomb'' whose advocacy of the arms race would drain the Soviet Union,precipitating the end of the Cold War.

His enthusiasm for super bombs led to him, with the German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, becoming the model for the ``mad'' scientist in Stanley Kubrick's film,Dr Strangelove.

However,Edward Teller believed in the balance of terror between the two great powers as a means of maintaining a kind of peace, which took little account of the localised wars,most significantly in Vietnam.

But his enthusiasm for America's involvement in Vietnam led to Teller being vilified by a generation of liberals,few of whom appreciated the background that forged the man.

Teller was born in Budapest, the son of a successful lawyer,in a family of assimilated Jews. Against a background of mounting anti-Semitism,he studied chemical engineering at the Karlsruhe Technische Hochschule in Germany.

From there he went to Munich University and on to Leipzig, where he obtained a doctorate in Theoretical Physics. …

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