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Memoirs: A Twentieth-Century Journey in Science and Politics Paperback – October 15, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It being the first review of Teller's book on amazon.com, I read F. Sweet's review with some interest. I especially liked the material he 'added' to the book. The story about communist soldiers urinating in Teller's mother's favorite potted palm is a great story, but it isn't in the book. As far as I know it simply isn't true. Neither does Teller recount how his anti-communism began during the brief communist government period in his native Hungary when he was a child.
Indeed, on pages 181-183 of the book, Teller goes into some detail about how his feelings toward communism developed, which was surprising to me for how *late* it occurred. Some quotations from these pages are of interest:
'I had ambivalent feelings about the experiment going on in Russia.' [This about 1930]
'My first indication that something about the communist world was peculiar came in 1931 [at age 23].'
'But I still had not made up my mind. Charles Critchfield, one of our graduate students at George Washington, remembers that as late as 1937 I believed that the experiment in Russia might be the answer to that nation's political and economic problems.Read more ›
Edward Teller had the good fortune to be right where major work in physics was taking place throughout his career. When the hotbed of physics research was in Hungary, he was in Hungary; when it was in Germany, he was in Germany; when it was in England, he was in England, and when it finally moved to America, so did Edward Teller.
A man who is obviously passionate about applying scientific knowledge to solve problems, Teller decided long ago that consequences are for politicians to handle, scientists should only be concerned with furthering mankind's knowledge to the best of their ability.
This, Teller has done in remarkable fashion, and his memoirs allow you to tag along for the ride as he and others perform the mental gymnastics necessary to unlock the secrets of the atom. Far from being a dry technical treatise, however, Teller and Shoolery are surprisingly good at detailing the personalities behind the people, including those of Neils Bohr, J. Robert Oppenheimer (whose first name is Julius, we discover in the book), Enrico Fermi, Lev Landau and others whom most of us have only read about in passing when we were in school. We are also permitted to glimpse more than a few touching moments with his late wife Mici and his son, which reveal the depth of his affection.
He also delves into the political proclivities of his associates, a surprising number of which had socialist and communist tendencies. An appendix gives relevant portions of his testimony during the Congressional investigation into Robert Oppenheimer.Read more ›
and technology, and in the scientific personalities who
carried out the revolution in physics in the first
half of the 20th century, you will be captivated
by this book.
I picked it up because of my interest in
the history of physics, and because Teller has
held such a central role in the transformation
from small science to Big Science.
Hans Bethe, with whom Teller had some difficulties
during the Manhattan Project, reviewed the book
very positively in Physics Today. I was prepared
to continue to dislike Teller, because of his testimony
in the Oppenheimer hearings and his advocacy of Star
Wars, but he nevertheless quickly won me over.
Teller comes across, in his own account, as a
collegial, cooperative, driven man, who cared
greatly about both his scientific and technical work
and his relations with his colleagues.
After Teller's 1954 testimony at the Oppenheimer
security clearance hearing, Teller was vilified.
Here, he gets to explain why he testified as he
did, and how it was just one of several very
stupid things that he did in his career. (The
stupid thing in this case was to neglect to
explain that his uncertainty about Oppenheimer's
clearance was due to a transcript he was shown
about Oppenheimer's fabricated story
that implicated his friend Chevalier, and
not to Oppenheimer's opposition to development
of the H-bomb, which was widely shared among
Teller makes an effort to explain the scientific
challenges in his work, such as in the early
days of quantum mechanics when he worked on
molecular dynamics.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sometimes you get the feeling that Edward Teller is simply making too many excuses. Maybe he is making them to preserve his record for posterity. Read morePublished on June 27, 2006 by A. Jogalekar
I am only 12 years old, but believe me when I say that this is one of the best books I've ever read! Read morePublished on July 13, 2002
"Memoirs", by Dr. Edward Teller, is a straight forward telling of the life of one of the twentieth century's foremost physicists. Dr. Read morePublished on March 12, 2002 by Timothy J. Reed
From the enormous flood of books, the 3Memoirs2 of Edward Teller is unique, awaited so long, and presenting the story of most important science and the application of nuclear... Read morePublished on January 5, 2002 by Prof H Hora