War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Weapon of Choice, The; Interview with Isidor Isaac Rabi, 1986
Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.
Isidor Isaac Rabi was a physicist and Nobel laureate, Science Advisor to President Eisenhower, and member of the General Advisory Committee (GAC) to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission from 1952-1956. He begins the interview by explaining that he declined Robert Oppenheimer's invitation to join the Manhattan Project in 1943 in order to continue his work on radars, which offered a more direct way to confront the German war effort. He describes witnessing a nuclear test and the deep impression it made on him. He then turns to a discussion of the GAC and the issues it faced in its early years. He also offers a brief personal description of Oppenheimer. He recalls his reaction to the Soviet atomic test and discussions that ensued over how to respond including his support for alternatives to developing the hydrogen bomb. He terms "disgraceful" Truman and Acheson's failure to discuss the issue with the eminent group of scientists who shared Dr. Rabi's view. He touches on Edward Teller's advocacy of an early design for the new bomb that did not work, comparing it to Teller's support for another unworkable system, SDI. He returns to discuss the split in the scientific community over the hydrogen bomb, and goes on to deal with the creation of a second national laboratory and the controversy over Oppenheimer's loss of a security clearance, including its wider implications.
- War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
- Weapon of Choice, The
- Program Number
Interview with Isidor Isaac Rabi, 1986
- Series Description
The first atomic explosion in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945, changed the world forever. This series chronicles these changes and the history of a new era. It traces the development of nuclear weapons, the evolution of nuclear strategy, and the politics of a world with the power to destroy itself.
In thirteen one-hour programs that combine historic footage and recent interviews with key American, Soviet, and European participants, the nuclear age unfolds: the origin and evolution of nuclear weapons; the people of the past who have shaped the events of the present; the ideas and issues that political leaders, scientists, and the public at large must confront, and the prospects for the future. Nuclear Age highlights the profound changes in contemporary thinking imposed by the advent of nuclear weapons. Series release date: 1/1989
- Program Description
The United States and the Soviet Union, former allies, become adversaries in a “Cold War,” and nuclear weapons become the weapon of choice for both sides.
From 1947 to 1953 the threat to use nuclear weapons became the principal currency of conflict. During the Korean War, Texas Congressman J. Frank Wilson said, “We are dealing with mad dogs ... we must treat them accordingly. I urge the atomic bomb be used if it can be used efficiently.” Against this background, President Harry Truman made crucial decisions that affected the history of the Nuclear Age. The United states deployed the B-36, a huge intercontinental bomber. It started mass production of atomic bombs. In 1952, the US exploded the first hydrogen bomb, a quantum leap in destructive force. Less than a year later, the Soviet Union exploded its own hydrogen bomb.
- Asset Type
- Media Type
- Conant, James Bryant, 1893-1978
- Ulam, Stanislaw
- Strauss, Lewis
- Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972
- Alvarez, Luis W., 1911-1988
- Fuchs, Klaus Emil Julius, 1911-1988
- United States
- Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory
- World War II
- Acheson, Dean, 1893-1971
- Fermi, Enrico, 1901-1954
- U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. General Advisory Committee
- Lawrence Livermore Laboratory
- Soviet Union
- U.S. Atomic Energy Commission
- Lawrence, Ernest Orlando, 1901-1958
- Hydrogen bomb
- Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 1904-1967
- Nuclear weapons
- Hiroshima-shi (Japan) -- History -- Bombardment, 1945
- Nuclear weapons -- Testing
- Teller, Edward, 1908-2003
- Global Affairs
- War and Conflict
- Rabi, I. I. (Isidor Isaac), 1898-1988 (Interviewee)
- Publication Information
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Weapon of Choice, The; Interview with Isidor Isaac Rabi, 1986,” 03/13/1986, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 11, 2017, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_7E62DED261394CEDBB3A79E9260DB791.
- MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Weapon of Choice, The; Interview with Isidor Isaac Rabi, 1986.” 03/13/1986. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 11, 2017. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_7E62DED261394CEDBB3A79E9260DB791>.
- APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Weapon of Choice, The; Interview with Isidor Isaac Rabi, 1986. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_7E62DED261394CEDBB3A79E9260DB791