Bohr, Oppenheimer, and Sakharov: Physicists and Politics in the Cold War and the Responsibility of Scientists Today

Max-von-Laue-Vortrag auf der Jaherstagung der DPG 2009 in Hamburg

Lecture
Date:
Th, 05.03.2009 19:00  –   Th, 05.03.2009 20:00
Sprecher:
David Holloway, Stanford University
Adresse:
Universität Hamburg
Campus "Von-Melle-Park", 20146 Hamburg
VMP 8 HS
Language:
English
Event partner:
Universität Hamburg
Contact person:
Götz Neuneck,
DPG Association:
Working Group on Physics and Disarmamen (AGA)  

Description

After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, physicists realized that their science, which before World War II had seemed to be remote from practical use, had laid the basis for the most terrible weapons. They felt a special responsibility for dealing with its military and political consequences. In this lecture I will look in particular at the efforts of Niels Bohr, Robert Oppenheimer, and Andrei Sakharov to confront the challenge of nuclear weapons and to prevent the catastrophe of nuclear war. I will examine how they understood that challenge, how they tried to meet it, and how their activities brought them into conflict with political authorities. I will explore the differing conceptions the three men had of the relationship between science and politics and, on that basis, discuss the responsibility of scientists today.