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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 September, 2003, 05:06 GMT 06:06 UK
'Father of the H-bomb' dies
Edward Teller
Teller was a strong backer of "Star Wars"
Atomic scientist Edward Teller, widely known as the "father of the H-bomb", has died at the age of 95.

Teller played a key role in US defence and energy policies for more than half a century, championing the development of the atomic and hydrogen bombs.

He was also a strong advocate of nuclear power and the Strategic Defense Initiative missile defence system, dubbed "Star Wars".

Teller suffered a stroke and died on Tuesday in Stanford, California, near the Hoover Institution where he served as a senior research fellow, a spokesman for Lawrence Livermore Laboratory said.

Teller's long career saw him influence the policies of several US presidencies.

EDWARD TELLER, 1908-2003
Born in Budapest, Hungary, and studied physics at Leipzig University, Germany
Worked as physicist at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory during World War II
Taught physics at the University of California, helping found its Livermore Laboratory in the late 1950s

In 1939, he was one of three scientists who encouraged Albert Einstein to alert President Franklin D. Roosevelt that the power of nuclear fission - the splitting of an atom's nucleus - could be tapped to create a devastating new weapon.

In 1941, before the first atom bomb had even been constructed, fellow scientist Enrico Fermi suggested that nuclear fusion - fusing rather than splitting nuclei - could be harnessed in an even more destructive device, the hydrogen bomb.

Teller seized on the idea, and his pursuit of such a bomb won him the title "father of the H-bomb", a term he reportedly hated.

The first megaton H-bomb was exploded in 1952, though one has never been used in conflict.

Teller received many honours in his long career, including the Albert Einstein Award, the Enrico Fermi Award and the National Medal of Science.




SEE ALSO:
The mastermind of 'Star Wars'
05 May 01  |  From Our Own Correspondent
Controversial US nuclear defender
10 Sep 03  |  Americas


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