Atomic Fragments: A Daughter's Questions by Mary Palevsky PDF

By Mary Palevsky

ISBN-10: 0520220552

ISBN-13: 9780520220553

More than such a lot people, Mary Palevsky had to come to phrases with the ethical complexities of the atomic bomb: Her mom and dad labored on its improvement in the course of global warfare II and have been profoundly replaced by means of that have. when they died, unanswered questions despatched their daughter on a look for realizing. This compelling, occasionally heart-wrenching chronicle is the tale of that quest. It takes her, and us, on a trip into the minds, stories, and feelings of the bomb builders.

Scientists Hans Bethe, Edward Teller, Joseph Rotblat, Herbert York, Philip Morrison, and Robert Wilson, and thinker David Hawkins spoke back to Palevsky's own strategy in a manner that dramatically expands their formerly released statements. Her ability and fervour as an interlocutor recommended those males to keep in mind their lives vividly and to reexamine their very own judgements, debating inside of themselves the advanced matters raised via the bomb.

the writer herself, looking to understand the generally differing ways that person scientists made offerings concerning the bomb and made feel in their paintings, deeply reconsiders these questions of dedication and moral sense her mom and dad confronted. In own vignettes that supplement the interviews, she captures different remembrances of the bomb via commemorative occasions and probability encounters with those that have been "there." Her concluding bankruptcy reframes the the most important ethical questions in phrases that exhibit the questions themselves to be the abiding legacy all of us percentage. This superbly written ebook bridges generations to make its readers members within the ongoing discussion approximately technology and philosophy, battle and peace.

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Additional info for Atomic Fragments: A Daughter's Questions

Sample text

Keywords: Hans Bethe, Germany, bomb-building project, theoretical physics, fissioning nucleus, atomic weapon Professor Bethe answered the telephone in a deep “Hello,” and I started talking. When I introduced myself and explained that my dad had been an experimental physicist at Brookhaven, he replied that although they had never met, they had corresponded. I assumed they had not known each other at Los Alamos. My father had been too far down the hierarchical ladder from Bethe. I requested an interview, and Bethe cordially consented, so we made an appointment to meet the following month at the California Institute of Technology, where he goes each winter to do astrophysics research.

This was my first indication of the distinction Bethe makes between the bomb's use during the war and his devotion to preventing its use after the war. I had assumed that as a thoughtful and passionate advocate of arms control, he would at least express some doubts, some second thoughts about the first use of the atomic weapon. My immediate impulse was to discount his views—but quickly following on this was my hope to understand more. I knew that Bethe had considered the question for fifty years.

Through my mother and father, I am connected to one of the great and controversial issues of the war—the creation of the atomic bomb. This is a study in memory and meaning, an exploration of the intersection of the personal and public, through life spans and across generations. Questions about the moral and ethical implications of the bomb have always been in the background of my life. I write in an attempt to organize and freeze the experience of stepping into a stream that has been flowing through my subconscious for as long as I can remember.

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Atomic Fragments: A Daughter's Questions by Mary Palevsky


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