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Memoirs: A Twentieth-Century Journey in Science and Politics.


Few scientists, as personalities, stir people's emotions. Teller does, however. People either love him or hate him. This autobiography will probably solidify many people's preconceptions, as he reiterates and elaborates on his positions regarding the hydrogen bomb, nuclear power, and the Strategic Defense Initiative. While revisiting the events of his life, Teller personalizes the history of the 20th century. This is evident as he begins by recounting his childhood in Hungary in the wake of World War I. His role in the Manhattan Project helped shape the outcome of World War II, a period he reflects on extensively. He also shares his experiences in developing the hydrogen bomb. Teller reveals his relationships with some of the most influential scientists of the past century, including Werner Heisenberg--under whose tutelage Teller received his Ph.D.--Enrico Fermi, Albert Einstein, and Robert Oppenheimer. Teller attempts to explain the damaging testimony he gave during Oppenheimer's security review in 1954--a full transcript appears as an appendix--and to reveal the complicated nature of the two atomic scientists' relationship. After World War II, Teller helped found Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and was an influential figure in policy decisions regarding nuclear weapons and power. These experiences round out the volume. Originally published in hardcover in 2001. Perseus Publng, 2002, 628 p., b&w plates, paperback, $18.95.
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Publication:Science News
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Dec 14, 2002
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