Edward Teller

Edward Teller
Edward Teller
  • Born: January 15, 1908
  • Died: September 9, 2003
  • Nationality: Hungarian Jew
  • Profession: Physicist









Edward Teller was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist who is known colloquially as "the father of the hydrogen bomb", although he did not care for the title. He made numerous contributions to nuclear and molecular physics, spectroscopy (in particular the Jahn–Teller and Renner–Teller effects), and surface physics. His extension of Enrico Fermi's theory of beta decay, in the form of Gamow–Teller transitions, provided an important stepping stone in its application, while the Jahn–Teller effect and the Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) theory have retained their original formulation and are still mainstays in physics and chemistry. Teller also made contributions to Thomas–Fermi theory, the precursor of density functional theory, a standard modern tool in the quantum mechanical treatment of complex molecules. In 1953, along with Nicholas Metropolis, Arianna Rosenbluth, Marshall Rosenbluth, and Augusta Teller, Teller co-authored a paper that is a standard starting point for the applications of the Monte Carlo method to statistical mechanics. Throughout his life, Teller was known both for his scientific ability and for his difficult interpersonal relations and volatile personality.

Quotes About
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For the things we [scientists] are working on no amount of protesting or fiddling with politics will save our souls. The accident that we worked out this terrible thing [nuclear weapons] should not give us the responsibility of having a voice in how it is to be used. The responsibility must in the end be shifted to the people as a whole and that can only be done by making the facts known. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest ;Secrecy & Transparency
I proved not only that stupidity is a general human property but that I possessed a full share of it. Chemical & Biological Weapons & Energy ;Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Weapons & Energy
I think that our work contributed to the safety of the world. Energy ;Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Weapons & Energy
It is not the scientist's job to determine whether a hydrogen bomb should be constructed, whether it should be used or how it should be used. This responsibility rests with the people and with their ... representatives. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Not only do wars create incredible suffering, but they engender deep hatreds that can last for generations. War & Peace
Secrecy in science does not work. Withholding information does more damage to us than to our competitors. Secrecy & Transparency
We are Martians who have come to earth to change everything—and we are afraid we will not be so well received. So we try to keep it a secret, try to appear as Americans…But that we could not do because of our accent. So we settled in a country nobody ever has heard about and now we are claiming to be Hungarians. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
A fact is a simple statement that everyone believes. It is innocent, unless found guilty. A hypothesis is a novel suggestion that no one wants to believe. It is guilty, until found effective. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Had we not pursued the hydrogen bomb, there is a very real threat that we would now all be speaking Russian. I have no regrets.
I tried to contribute to the defeat of the Soviets. If I contributed 1%, it is 1% of something enormous.
Life improves slowly and goes wrong fast, and only catastrophe is clearly visible. Life
My experience has been in a short 77 years that in the end when you fight for a desperate cause and have good reasons to fight, you usually win.
No endeavor that is worthwhile is simple in prospect; if it is right, it will be simple in retrospect.
Physics is, hopefully, simple. Physicists are not.
Secrecy, once accepted, becomes an addiction.
The main purpose of science is simplicity and as we understand more things, everything is becoming simpler. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The science of today is the technology of tomorrow. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Two paradoxes are better than one; they may even suggest a solution.