The Biography of Edward Teller

The Biography of Edward Teller

Edward Teller is a theoretical physicist who invented the hydrogen bomb.

Childhood and youth

Edward Teller was born into a Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary. His father, Max Teller, was a lawyer, and his mother, Ilona Teller, a pianist.

In 1928 he graduated from the University of Technology in Karlsruhe with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree. Later he became a candidate of physical sciences at the University of Leipzig.
In 1935 he moved to the United States and got a job as a professor at the George Washington University, where he worked until 1941.


In 1941, Teller was granted US citizenship. Before that, he worked as a theoretical physicist, and after obtaining citizenship he became interested in nuclear energy.

In 1943,

Teller was invited to a seminar in the Manhattan Project, in which they were engaged in the development of a nuclear bomb. During the seminar, he began to share his ideas on the development of nuclear weapons.

In 1943, Teller began working in the department of theoretical physics at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Here he continued to offer ideas for creating nuclear weapons.

In 1946, he participated in a conference on the creation of a hydrogen bomb, and in the same year moved from the Los Alamos Laboratory to the University of Chicago as a professor.

In 1949, after the USSR tested the first atomic bomb, US President Harry Truman commissioned the creation of a hydrogen bomb. And in 1950, Teller returned to the Los Alamos Laboratory to continue work on the creation of a hydrogen bomb.

In 1951, after research, together with mathematician Stanislav Ulam, Teller published a report “Hydrodynamic lenses and radiation mirrors”, in which the first working diagram of a hydrogen bomb was presented.

In 1952, Teller left work in the Los Alamos Laboratory, as he was refused the post of head of the project to develop a hydrogen bomb. After leaving the laboratory, Teller settled in the radiation laboratory at the University of California.

On November 1, 1952, a test of thermonuclear

weapons with the name “Ivy Mike”, created by Teller and Stanislav Ulam, was successfully conducted on the Eniwetok test range. After the test, the press began to call Teller “the father of the hydrogen bomb”.

From 1958 to 1960, Teller was the director of the Livermore National Laboratory, which he founded with the American physicist Ernest Lawrence.

In 1963, Teller established the Department of Applied Science at the University of California. At the university there is a foundation named after Professor Edward Teller.

In 1975, Teller retired from the post of professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley, becoming the honorary director of the Livermore Laboratory.

In 1980, Teller agitated for the Strategic Defense Initiative, which Ronald Reagan proposed to protect the United States with anti-missile defense.

Basic work

Teller created the “Teller-Ulam scheme,” which depicts the first real-life hydrogen bomb. The scheme was used to create the “Ivey Mike” – the first hydrogen bomb, which was successfully tested in 1952.

Awards and achievements

In 1962, Teller received the Enrico Fermi Award, which is awarded for scientific research in the fields of energy and energy technology.

In 1991, Teller received the Ignobelev Prize for “efforts throughout his life to change the meaning of the word world as we know it.”

On July 23, 2003, George W. Bush handed Teller the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Personal life and heritage

During his student life, Teller got into an accident, as a result of which his right foot was badly damaged and had to be amputated. For the rest of his life, Teller was forced to wear a prosthesis and was constantly limping.

In February 1934, Teller married to Augustus Maria “Mitzi” Harkan.

Teller died of a stroke on 9 September 2003 at the age of 95 at his home in Stanford, California.

The authors of the film “Dr. Strangelove, or How I Stop Being Afraid and Love a Bomb” created the film inspired by Teller’s life.

Interesting Facts

A well-known scientist often played the piano at night, which greatly hampered and irritated his neighbors.

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The Biography of Edward Teller