The Manhattan Project

Hydrogen Bomb

Geoffrey Chew's Interview

Cindy Kelly: Okay, I am Cindy Kelly. This is Tuesday, August 9, 2016 in Berkeley, California. I have with me Dr. Geoffrey Chew. My first question to him is to say and spell his name.

Geoffrey Chew: Geoffrey Chew, G-E-O-F-F-R-E-Y C-H-E-W.

Kelly: Very good, so now we will move on to some harder stuff. If you could tell us when you were born and where, and a little bit about your own childhood.

Roy Glauber's Interview

Owen Gingerich: Professor Roy Glauber is a physicist, a physicist who had an early start in physics because when he was still an undergraduate at Harvard, it was during World War II. A mysterious caller knocked on his dormitory door, and asked him if he would want to participate in some unspecified kind of scientific war work. He ended up going to Los Alamos as one of the youngest scientists in that scientific community working to make the atomic bomb. Of course there in Los Alamos, Robert Oppenheimer was the director.

Lee DuBridge's Interview - Part 2

Lee DuBridge: So, yeah, we thought it was an exciting time to have the AEC [Atomic Energy Commission]. We knew, of course, that they were going ahead with the weapon development, but also they were going to support Brookhaven and other research centers around the country. So, no, I think those of us who were not imminently in the Manhattan District, but aware of it, were quite excited about getting in and finding out more about really what was going on and what the new possibilities were, both in physics and in weapon technology.

Ed Hammel's Interview

Martin Sherwin: The work must have been sort of very frustrating for a while, before that [Stanislaus] Ulam-[Edward] Teller breakthrough [on the hydrogen bomb].

Ed Hammel: Well, sure. There was— 

Sherwin: What were you doing at that time?

Hammel: At that point, I continued with having this group in charge of properties of plutonium. But one of the things that we were very interested in was the low temperature properties, the specific heat specifically, of plutonium.

Ted Taylor's Interview - Part 4

Rhodes: Well, I had started to ask you about the Korean War. Was that a shock? Did that worry everyone and accelerate your sense of pressure?

Taylor: I don’t think so. I don’t remember any feeling of pressure, that we had to do something by a certain time or else all hell would break lose. All I remember was excitement and anticipation and eagerness to know the result of something I had worked on.

Ted Taylor's Interview - Part 3

Richard Rhodes: Although again, I was struck in Russia with how different a world that was.

Ted Taylor: Oh, yeah.

Rhodes: How much more closely they were—

Taylor: That is why I am so thankful because in many other places people get shot.

Rhodes: Yeah. We could not even get directions on the street. Nobody wanted to talk to foreigners. Even now, partly, I am sure.

Taylor: Some of that is habit, I think.

Hans Bethe's Interview (1982) - Part 2

Hans Bethe: The other was M - A - D, MAD [Mutually Assured Destruction], which essentially says that nuclear weapons make sense only as a safeguard against nuclear weapons. As [Wolfgang] Panofsky has said recently, and there is actually an article by him, "It is not a doctrine. It is a fact of life. Nothing else is possible, whatever you might wish.” So I think you should not present it as something really unavoidable, without any movements in the opposite direction.  

Ted Taylor's Interview - Part 2

Richard Rhodes: You said [Richard] Courant’s work added realism?

Ted Taylor: Yeah.

Rhodes: How so?

Taylor: By going over various tricks for dealing with the discontinuities, the singularities in the hydrodynamics. I had the impression that he was very helpful to people like Bob Richtmyer. I don’t know that Richard himself came up with anything all new and different, I don’t know. But he was very articulate and active.

Marshall Rosenbluth's Interview

Richard Rhodes: How did you get involved in the program?

Marshall Rosenbluth: Well, you can probably guess. I’ve already told you that I was a student of [Edward] Teller’s. I was in the Navy during the war and then went back to the University of Chicago where my parents were living, to graduate school, and became a student of Teller’s. I’m not quite sure exactly how. He was a professor in one of my courses.

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