Edward Teller
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History: Edward Teller was a theoretical physicist, known as "the father of the hydrogen bomb," even though he did not care for the title. He was born in Budapest, Hungary into a Jewish family. When he was a young student, his right foot was severed in a streetcar accident in Munich, leaving him with a life-long limp. Teller graduated in Chemical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe and received his Ph.D. in physics. In 1935 Teller was invited to the United States to become a Professor of Physics at George Washington University where he worked until 1941. After becoming a citizen of the United States, his interest turned to the use of nuclear energy, both fusion and fission. Teller suffered a heart attack in 1979, which he blamed on Jane Fonda; after the Three Mile Island accident, the actress had outspokenly lobbied against nuclear power while promoting her latest movie. Teller acted quickly to lobby in favor of nuclear energy, testifying to its safety and reliability. In the 1980s, Teller began the concept of using ground and satellite-based lasers, particle beams and missiles to destroy incoming Soviet ICBMs. Teller lobbied with government agencies and got the sanction of President Ronald Reagan for a plan to develop a system using elaborate satellites which used atomic weapons to fire X-ray lasers at incoming missiles. He was named as part of the group of "U.S. Scientists" who were Time magazine's People of the Year in 1960, and an asteroid, 5006 Teller, is named after him. He was awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush less than two months before his death. Teller died in Stanford, California on September 9, 2003, at the age of 95.

Science topics he is know for: Teller also made an important contribution to surface physics and chemistry called Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) isotherm, a theory which “aims to explain the physical adsorption of gas molecules on a solid surface and serves as the basis for an important analysis technique for the measurement of the specific surface area of a material.” After the Soviet Union's first test detonation of an atomic bomb in 1949, President Truman announced a development program for a hydrogen bomb. Teller returned to Los Alamos in 1950 to work on the project.

Relevance to the atomic bomb: In 1942, Teller was invited to be part of Robert Oppenheimer's summer planning seminar at the University of California, Berkeley for the Manhattan Project. In early 1943, the Los Alamos laboratory was built to design an atomic bomb Los Alamos, New Mexico. Teller moved there in April 1943. Teller became part of the Theoretical Physics division in Los Alamos laboratory during the war, and continued to push his ideas for a fusion weapon.

Bibliography: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Teller#US_Government_work_and_political_advocacy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BET_theory http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/tel0bio-1http://www.atomicarchive.com/Bios/Teller.shtml