Edward Teller was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist. He was an early member of the Manhattan Project, charged with developing the first atomic bomb. Teller also made contributions to Thomas–Fermi theory, the precursor of density functional theory. He died on September 9, 2003, in Stanford, California, at 95.
About Edward Teller in brief
Edward Teller was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist. He was an early member of the Manhattan Project, charged with developing the first atomic bomb. Teller also made contributions to Thomas–Fermi theory, the precursor of density functional theory. He co-founded the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and was both its director and associate director for many years. In his later years, Teller became especially known for his advocacy of controversial technological solutions to both military and civilian problems, including a plan to excavate an artificial harbor in Alaska using thermonuclear explosive in what was called Project Chariot. He died on September 9, 2003, in Stanford, California, at 95. He was a recipient of numerous awards, including the Enrico Fermi Award and Albert Einstein Award. Teller once stated that the person who was responsible for him becoming a physicist was Herman Mark, a physicist who was a visiting professor at the University of Karlsruhe, where he graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. He later wrote that he had gotten this exposure from Mark’s lectures on molecular spectroscopy, which he had traveled to visit with his father, so that he could inform his father of his intent to switch to his father’s school of physics. Like Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman, Tiller was a late talker. He developed the ability to speak later than most children, but became very interested in numbers, and would calculate large numbers in his head for fun.
He became an agnostic Jew later in life, and later wrote, “Religion was not an issue in my family. My only religious training came because the Minta required that all students take classes in their respective religions” Teller’s father said prayers for his parents on Saturdays and on all the Jewish holidays, but he also fasted on the Day of Atonement, when we all fasted. He once said, “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. Yet my family celebrated one holiday, a day of fasted, when I was a child, and I fasted that day, too.” Teller later wrote: “I am a Jew. I am not a Christian. I do not believe in God. I don’t believe that God exists. But I do believe that we need Him desperately, and we need to seek Him for help. I believe that if we could find him, we would be able to overcome our problems. I want to be a better person, not just a better scientist, but a better human being. I would like to be the kind of person I can be, not the type of person that I am today.” He died in 2003, at the age of 95, in California, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by his wife, Augusta Teller, and their three children.
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