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Edward Teller

Geburtstag: 15. Januar 1908
Todesdatum: 9. September 2003

Edward Teller, deutsch Eduard Teller, ungarisch Ede Teller war ein ungarisch-amerikanischer Physiker. Er leistete wichtige Beiträge auf den verschiedensten Gebieten der Physik. Einer breiten Öffentlichkeit wurde er als „Vater der Wasserstoffbombe“ bekannt. Teller selbst lehnte diese Betitelung für seine Person ab.Teller studierte an der Technischen Hochschule Karlsruhe und promovierte 1930 in Leipzig bei Friedrich Hund und Werner Heisenberg. Wegen seiner jüdischen Herkunft entschied er sich 1933, das nationalsozialistische Deutschland zu verlassen und nach England zu emigrieren. 1935 emigrierte er in die USA. Dort wurde er sehr früh Mitarbeiter im Manhattan-Projekt, das die ersten Atombomben entwickelte. Bereits während dieser Zeit drängte er auf die zusätzliche Entwicklung fusionsbasierter Nuklearwaffen. Viele der Physiker, die mit ihm im Manhattan-Projekt gearbeitet hatten, wandten sich später gegen die Weiterentwicklung der Kernwaffentechnik und das folgende nukleare Wettrüsten mit der Sowjetunion, während Teller sich aufgrund der „Bedrohung durch den Kommunismus“ vehement dafür einsetzte.

In Verhören zur Sicherheitseinstufung nach Kriegsende belastete Edward Teller Robert Oppenheimer, seinen ehemaligen Kollegen im Los Alamos National Laboratory, wodurch er in der wissenschaftlichen Gemeinschaft stark an Ansehen verlor. Er wurde allerdings weiterhin von der US-Regierung sowie den Forschern des Militärs unterstützt. Teller war einer der Mitbegründer des Kernwaffen-Forschungszentrums Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory und mehrere Jahre lang zunächst dessen Leiter, später stellvertretender Leiter.

In späteren Jahren wurde Teller hauptsächlich durch kontroverse technische Ansätze bei militärischen wie auch zivilen Aufgaben bekannt, beispielsweise einen Plan zur Anlage eines künstlichen Hafens in Alaska durch Sprengungen mittels Wasserstoffbomben. Er war ein prominenter Befürworter von Ronald Reagans Strategic Defense Initiative und wurde später beschuldigt, die sehr schwierige Durchführbarkeit des Programms verschleiert zu haben.

Sein Leben lang war Teller sowohl für seine großen wissenschaftlichen Fähigkeiten als auch für seine problematischen zwischenmenschlichen Verhaltensweisen bekannt. Er gilt als eines von mehreren Vorbildern für die Figur des Dr. Strangelove in Stanley Kubricks Filmsatire Dr. Seltsam oder: Wie ich lernte, die Bombe zu lieben aus dem Jahr 1964.

Zitate Edward Teller

„I believe in evil. It is the property of all those who are certain of truth.“

—  Edward Teller
Context: I believe in evil. It is the property of all those who are certain of truth. Despair and fanaticism are only differing manifestations of evil. As quoted in The Martians of Science : Five Physicists Who Changed the Twentieth Century (2006) by István Hargittai, p. 251

„If we stay strong, then I believe we can stabilize the world and have peace based on force.“

—  Edward Teller
Context: If we stay strong, then I believe we can stabilize the world and have peace based on force. Now, peace based on force is not as good as peace based on agreement, but in the terrible world in which we live, in the world where the Russians have enslaved many millions of human beings, in the world where they have killed men, I think that for the time being the only peace we can have is the peace based on force. Furthermore, I do not think that this peace based on force is, can be, or should be, an ultimate end. Our ultimate end must be precisely what Dr. Pauling says, peace based on agreement, on understanding, on universally agreed and enforced law. I think this is a wonderful idea, but peace based on force buys the necessary time, and in this time we can work for better understanding, for closer collaboration, first with the countries which are closest to us, which we understand better, our allies, the western countries, the NATO countries, which believe in human liberties as we do. Then, as soon as possible, with the rest of the free world, and eventually, I hope, with the whole world, including Russia, even though it may take many years to come. Debating Linus Pauling, in The Nuclear Bomb Tests...Is Fallout Overrated? : Fallout and Disarmament KQED-TV, San Francisco (20 February 1958) http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/specialcollections/coll/pauling/peace/papers/1958p2.1.html

„Among the people who knew a great deal about the hydrogen bomb, I was the only advocate of it. And that is, I think, my contribution.“

—  Edward Teller
Context: At the end of the war, most people wanted to stop. I didn't. Because here was more knowledge. And in the coming uncertain period, with a dangerous man like Stalin around, and our incomplete knowledge, I felt that more knowledge is necessary. Among the people who knew a great deal about the hydrogen bomb, I was the only advocate of it. And that is, I think, my contribution. Not that I invented it, others would have — and others in the Soviet Union did. But I was the one person who put knowledge, and the availability of knowledge, above everything else. On the creation of the hydrogen bomb, in Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie

„The preservation of peace and the improvement of the lot of all people require us to have faith in the rationality of humans.“

—  Edward Teller
Context: The preservation of peace and the improvement of the lot of all people require us to have faith in the rationality of humans. If we have this faith and if we pursue understanding, we have not the promise but at least the possibility of success. We should not be misled by promises. Humanity in all its history has repeatedly escaped disaster by a hair's breadth. Total security has never been available to anyone. To expect it is unrealistic; to imagine that it can exist is to invite disaster. What we do have in our technological capacities is an opportunity to use our inventiveness, our creativity, our wisdom and our understanding of our fellow beings to create a future world that is a little better than the one in which we live today. The Pursuit of Simplicity (1981), p. 151 Variant: Total security has never been available to anyone. To expect it is unrealistic; to imagine that it can exist is to invite disaster. I believe the most important aim for humanity at present is to avoid war, dictatorship, and their awful consequences. Better a Shield Than A Sword : Perspectives On Defense And Technology (1987), p. 241

„But when the temperature does rise by a few degrees over the whole globe, there is a possibility that the icecaps will start melting and the level of the oceans will begin to rise.“

—  Edward Teller
Context: At present the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 2 per cent over normal. By 1970, it will be perhaps 4 per cent, by 1980, 8 per cent, by 1990, 16 per cent [about 360 parts per million, by Teller’s accounting], if we keep on with our exponential rise in the use of purely conventional fuels. By that time, there will be a serious additional impediment for the radiation leaving the earth. Our planet will get a little warmer. It is hard to say whether it will be 2 degrees Fahrenheit or only one or 5. But when the temperature does rise by a few degrees over the whole globe, there is a possibility that the icecaps will start melting and the level of the oceans will begin to rise. Well, I don’t know whether they will cover the Empire State Building or not, but anyone can calculate it by looking at the map and noting that the icecaps over Greenland and over Antarctica are perhaps five thousand feet thick. As quoted in Benjamin Franta, "On its 100th birthday in 1959, Edward Teller warned the oil industry about global warming" https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/jan/01/on-its-hundredth-birthday-in-1959-edward-teller-warned-the-oil-industry-about-global-warming, ', 1 January 2018.

„Total security has never been available to anyone. To expect it is unrealistic; to imagine that it can exist is to invite disaster.“

—  Edward Teller
Context: The preservation of peace and the improvement of the lot of all people require us to have faith in the rationality of humans. If we have this faith and if we pursue understanding, we have not the promise but at least the possibility of success. We should not be misled by promises. Humanity in all its history has repeatedly escaped disaster by a hair's breadth. Total security has never been available to anyone. To expect it is unrealistic; to imagine that it can exist is to invite disaster. What we do have in our technological capacities is an opportunity to use our inventiveness, our creativity, our wisdom and our understanding of our fellow beings to create a future world that is a little better than the one in which we live today. The Pursuit of Simplicity (1981), p. 151 Variant: Total security has never been available to anyone. To expect it is unrealistic; to imagine that it can exist is to invite disaster. I believe the most important aim for humanity at present is to avoid war, dictatorship, and their awful consequences. Better a Shield Than A Sword : Perspectives On Defense And Technology (1987), p. 241

„I do not think that this peace based on force is, can be, or should be, an ultimate end.“

—  Edward Teller
Context: If we stay strong, then I believe we can stabilize the world and have peace based on force. Now, peace based on force is not as good as peace based on agreement, but in the terrible world in which we live, in the world where the Russians have enslaved many millions of human beings, in the world where they have killed men, I think that for the time being the only peace we can have is the peace based on force. Furthermore, I do not think that this peace based on force is, can be, or should be, an ultimate end. Our ultimate end must be precisely what Dr. Pauling says, peace based on agreement, on understanding, on universally agreed and enforced law. I think this is a wonderful idea, but peace based on force buys the necessary time, and in this time we can work for better understanding, for closer collaboration, first with the countries which are closest to us, which we understand better, our allies, the western countries, the NATO countries, which believe in human liberties as we do. Then, as soon as possible, with the rest of the free world, and eventually, I hope, with the whole world, including Russia, even though it may take many years to come. Debating Linus Pauling, in The Nuclear Bomb Tests...Is Fallout Overrated? : Fallout and Disarmament KQED-TV, San Francisco (20 February 1958) http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/specialcollections/coll/pauling/peace/papers/1958p2.1.html

„I don't want to kill anybody. I am passionately opposed to killing, but I'm even more passionately fond of freedom.“

—  Edward Teller
Context: I don't want to kill anybody. I am passionately opposed to killing, but I'm even more passionately fond of freedom. The freedom of Dr. Pauling and of myself expressing our opinions freely on any subject, however broad, however far removed of our proper competence, but particularly, to be able to express our opinions in the fields we really know; this would not be possible in Russia. Debating Linus Pauling, in The Nuclear Bomb Tests...Is Fallout Overrated? : Fallout and Disarmament KQED-TV, San Francisco (20 February 1958) http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/specialcollections/coll/pauling/peace/papers/1958p2.1.html

„By having simplified what is known, physicists have been led into realms which as yet are anything but simple.“

—  Edward Teller
Context: By having simplified what is known, physicists have been led into realms which as yet are anything but simple. That at some time, they, too, will appear as simple consequences of a theory of which no one has yet dreamed is not a statement of fact. It is a statement of faith. The Pursuit of Simplicity (1981), p. 72

„All of us can be excellent, because, fortunately, we are exceedingly diverse in our ambitions and talents.“

—  Edward Teller
Context: I believe in excellence. It is a basic need of every human soul. All of us can be excellent, because, fortunately, we are exceedingly diverse in our ambitions and talents. As quoted in The Martians of Science : Five Physicists Who Changed the Twentieth Century (2006) by István Hargittai, p. 251

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„The idea of God that I absorbed was that it would be wonderful if He existed: We needed Him desperately but had not seen Him in many thousands of years.“

—  Edward Teller
Context: Religion was not an issue in my family; indeed, it was never discussed. My only religious training came because the Minta required that all students take classes in their respective religions. My family celebrated one holiday, the Day of Atonement, when we all fasted. Yet my father said prayers for his parents on Saturdays and on all the Jewish holidays. The idea of God that I absorbed was that it would be wonderful if He existed: We needed Him desperately but had not seen Him in many thousands of years. Memoirs: A Twentieth Century Journey In Science And Politics., (2002) by Edward Teller, Basic Books, p. 32.

„If we could have ended the war by showing the power of science without killing a single person, all of us would now be happier, more reasonable and much more safe.“

—  Edward Teller
As quoted in "Edward Teller Is Dead at 95; Fierce Architect of H-Bomb" http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/10/obituaries/edward-teller-is-dead-at-95-fierce-architect-of-hbomb.html, New York Times (Sept. 10, 2003) by Walter Sullivan.

„No, I'm the infamous Edward Teller.“

—  Edward Teller
Response to a nurse, questioning him after a stroke in 1996: "Are you the famous Edward Teller?" — as quoted in Edward Teller and the Development of the Hydrogen Bomb (2001) by John Bankston, p. 9

„Secrecy in science does not work. Withholding information does more damage to us than to our competitors.“

—  Edward Teller
As quoted in Proceedings of the International Conference on Lasers '87 (1988) edited by F. J. Duarte, p. 1165

„When you fight for a desperate cause and have good reasons to fight, you usually win.“

—  Edward Teller
As quoted by Robert C. Martin in Software Development magazine (September 2005), p. 60

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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