, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 99-101
Date: 06 Nov 2011

István Hargittai: Judging Edward Teller: A closer look at one of the most influential scientists of the twentieth century

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Edward Teller, considered by some as the “Father of the H-Bomb,” the “Dr. Strangelove” of Stanley Kubrick’s 1967 award-winning anti-war comedy of that name, and one of the creators of the policy of mutually assured destruction (with the appropriate acronym MAD) between the United States and the U.S.S.R., probably contributed to the avoidance of a third world war. However, his aggressive personality and controversial activities have made it difficult to acknowledge and appreciate his achievements. He was a hero of the Cold War to his supporters, whereas he was evil personified to his detractors.

Because of his book, Martians of Science (Oxford University Press, 2008) about five eminent Jewish-Hungarian-American physicists (Theodore von Karmán, Leo Szilard, Eugene P. Wigner, John von Neumann, and Edward Teller), István Hargittai, Professor of Chemistry at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics and Head of the George A. Olah Ph.D. School of Chemistry and Engineering, was invol