Edward Teller


Born 15th January 1908 Budapest, Hungary. Director Emeritus at Livermore and Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford.

Graduate Student under Werner Heisenberg at Leipzig (PhD 1930). With James Franck at University of Goettingen (1931–33). In Copenhagen at the Niels Bohr Institute (1934). Professor of Physics at the George Washington University, Washington DC (1935). Professor of Physics at the University of Chicago (1945). The University of California Berkeley and at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Associate Director 1958, Director 1960). University Professor of Physics at the University of California (1960).

Dr. Teller has received many honours and medals for his work and contributions to scientific developments and to the defence of western democracy. Some of these honours are : The Enrico Fermi Award (1962), The Albert Einstein Award, The Joseph Priestly Award, The Harvey Prize (Israel, 1975), The National Medal of Science (1983), The Sylvanus Thayer Award, The Presidential Citizens Medal, The Science Peace Prize (Erice, Sicily, Italy).

Author of:

The Structure of Matter (1949); Our Nuclear Future (1958); The Legacy of Hiroshima (1962); The Reluctant Revolutionary (1964); The Constructive Uses of Nuclear Explosives (1968); Great Men of Physics (1969); Nuclear Energy in a Developing World (1977); Energy from Heaven and Earth (1979); Pursuit of Simplicity (1980); Better A Shield Than A Sword (1987); Conversations On The Dark Secrets Of Physics.

Important Contributions:

Dr. Teller is best known to the public for his work on the development of nuclear explosives and for his advocacy of a strong defense for America. He is also a noted physicist with more than 100 technical publications, several books, some patents and numerous articles in the popular media.

Prior to 1939 and the announcement to the scientific community of the discovery of fission, Dr. Teller was engaged as a theoretical physicist working in the fields of quantum physics, molecular physics and nuclear physics. The possibilities of fission, together with the menace of Nazi Germany, led him to work on the Manhattan Project. At at early stage, the possibilities of releasing energy via nuclear fusion became apparent, and much of his attention was subsequently devoted to this development. After World War II, Dr. Teller remained at the University of Chicago until the threat of Soviet technological developments motivated him to return as Assistant Director to the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. In 1952, at the time of the first test of the hydrogen bomb, Dr. Teller started work at the newly founded Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he eventually became Director.

Dr. Teller has served the United States in many capacities, some of which are : as a Member of the General Advisory Committee of the US Atomic Energy Commission, as Chairman of the first Nuclear Reactor Safeguard Committee, as a Member of the USAF Scientific Advisory Board, on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and as a board member of the Defense Intelligence School. In 1982 he was appointed a member of the White House Science Council, and is presently on the National Space Council.

An obituary can be found at