Robert Serber: Ernest [Lawrence] got overexcited about the Russian bomb. I imagine that [Edward] Teller called him and got him worked up. I warned him about Edward’s Super, that it wasn't a practical idea at the moment. I told him if he wanted to really find out he should talk to [Hans] Bethe, but he never did. He was all gung ho for the Super and he immediately went with more or less the action before he thought of what he could do, and the thing to do was to build these reactors to make tritium.
Nuclear Arms Race
Richard Rhodes: An interview with Dr. Stanislaw Ulam in Santa Fe, New Mexico, July 6, 1983.
Rhodes: Well I have some questions for you.
Ulam: Yes, of course. How long are you staying?
Rhodes: I am going to be in the area for until Saturday morning. It would be pleasant to see more of you. I thought I would go out to Los Alamos today and stay up there.
Ulam: There is a hotel.
Freeman Dyson: I’m Freeman Dyson, F-R-E-E-M-A-N D-Y-S-O-N, retired professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
Cynthia Kelly: Why don’t we start with your experience in World War II? Maybe you could tell us what your role was.
Raemer Schreiber: Yes, there was at least one [bomb core], and people back here worked furiously taking the plutonium as it arrived and converting it into another core. I don’t know the answer to it. I have heard stories another core was on its way out at the time of the surrender.
Richard Rhodes: Groves decided not to ship it. I’ve seen the document.
George Cowan: What you’ve learned from the Russians, for example?
Richard Rhodes: The main thing I have learned is that their first bomb was a carbon copy of Fat Man.
Cowan Cowan: Well of course. I knew that in 1949, about the middle of September of ’49 because we analyzed the debris from that and it was clear that it was a carbon copy.
Richard Rhodes: Did David Holloway show you the documents that the Russians published?
Hans Bethe: Not the documents, but I got recent documents like [Yulii] Khariton.
Rhodes: Ah. They also published what [Klaus] Fuchs gave them. And, I have some of it here. I wanted to show you. You may not be able to comment. I think it is probably classified material in the United States.
Bethe: I do not know.
Rhodes: I am working on a book that would try to cover the years ’45 to ’55. I just finished the first 400 pages; it is all the Soviet bomb story, because so much has come available, including the espionage part of it. But, now I would like to get going and just simply try to deal with the development of the hydrogen bomb. And, most of all, I would like to describe the Mike shot, when you guys all came to put that together. But you also worked later, right, on Romeo? What was Romeo?
Cindy Kelly: This is Wednesday, February 13, 2013. I’m Cindy Kelly, and we have with us Alex Wellerstein. Alex, could you say your name and spell it, please?
Alex Wellerstein: Alex Wellerstein, W-E-L-L-E-R-S-T-E-I-N, and it’s just Alex, nothing fancy.
Kelly: Great. Thank you, Alex. Alex, give us a little background as to your education and how you come to know about the Manhattan Project and related subjects.
Richard Rhodes: There are two particular themes that I am interested in that I know you were involved with very much. Anything else that you remember that you would want to talk about would be wonderful. One is the developing of computing. Los Alamos made a major contribution to the development of computing in the world. The other has to do with the period around the invention of the two-stage thermonuclear weapon. Could you talk about your experience with those things?
Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly from the Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is Friday, April 11, 2014, and I have with me William Lanouette who is going to be talking about Leo Szilard. Why don’t you start by actually saying your full name and spelling it?
Bill Lanouette: I’m William Lanouette, L-A-N-O-U-E-T-T-E.
Kelly: Tell us about Szilard. Who was he? What’s his background?