Chapter

Hans A. Bethe, Tough Dove

Mary Palevsky

in Atomic Fragments

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2000 | ISBN: 9780520220553
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923652 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520220553.003.0002
Hans A. Bethe, Tough Dove

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Hans Bethe stood as the author's portal on the quest to understand the people and times that had created the first weapon capable of breaking the world. Born in Germany in 1906, Bethe experienced firsthand the rise of nationalism in response to the harsh provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. In 1943, Robert Oppenheimer, director of the Los Alamos lab, asked Bethe to head the Theoretical Division of the bomb-building project. This chapter presents Bethe's recollections on the discovery of the fissioning nucleus; the war with Germany; the early days of discovery leading to the development of the atomic weapon; as well as his feelings about the bomb's use during the war and his devotion to preventing its use after the war.

Keywords: Hans Bethe; Germany; bomb-building project; theoretical physics; fissioning nucleus; atomic weapon

Chapter.  7806 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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