April 24, 2011 - American Hungarian Library, Hungarian House
215 East 82nd Street, NYC, btw 2nd & 3rd Aves.

American Hungarian Library and Historical Society presented:


Lecture by István Hargittai, PhD, DSc

Photos: Gabriella Gyorffy

A personal acquaintance of Teller’s - and a prominent scientist and historian in his own right - Hargittai will talk about the contradictory nature of this complex and brilliant man as he draws on hitherto unknown archival material from Hungarian, American, and German sources.

What Readers Are Saying about
Judging Edward Teller:

From the Jacket Cover of the Prometheus Books Publication

"Excellent. An interesting, thorough, and objective discussion of the life of Edward Teller, a brilliant but controversial scientist."

- Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, University of California at Berkeley

"Edward Teller did not avoid controversy in a life filled with superb science, invention, and human drama. Istvan Hargittai’s honest account is the first balanced reading we have of the character and achievements of this remarkable thrice-exiled scientist, the father of the hydrogen bomb."

- Roald Hoffmann, Nobel laureate, Cornell University

"This penetrating analysis of Teller’s energetic—and enigmatic—career gives new ways to understand his testy and troubled life. Hargittai explains both Teller’s brilliant scientific achievements in the 1930s and his wacky fascination with ‘Star Wars’ technology in the 1980s, and much more worth discovering in between."

- William Lanouette, author of Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, The Man Behind the Bomb

"I learned a lot from the book. Hargittai did an excellent job."

- Janos Kirz, physicist, Edward Teller’s nephew, Berkeley

"Judging Edward Teller is a serious, well-researched attempt to interpret the enigmatic nature of a great scientist, one who had the courage to stand up for his beliefs. It’s a must read for those whose interests range from how America rose in the 1930s, through immigration, to become the world’s leading nation in science, to how the H-bomb was developed, a most counter-intuitive invention, to how effective Soviet intelligence was in penetrating the Manhattan Project and its follow-on efforts, to just how close the U.S. came to losing to the Soviet Union its post-war lead in nuclear weaponry."

- G. A. Keyworth, II, Science Adviser to President Reagan, 1981-86

"By far the best and most balanced treatment of the man, his work, and his influence. Splendid, fascinating, masterful—Hargittai’s insightful book will be instrumental in how one of the most gifted, influential, yet often despised scientists of the twentieth century will be judged. He brings to life both the charming and dark sides of Edward Teller I witnessed during my years at Los Alamos."

- Siegfried S. Hecker, Professor (Research), Stanford University, Director Emeritus, Los Alamos National Laboratory

"A must read for those who wish an accurate accounting of Teller and his associates who led the free world into the nuclear era. His influence and interaction with politicians and scientists worldwide was unique and is covered

in detail."

- Harold M. Agnew, Former Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Former Chairman of the General Advisory Committee, US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

"I knew Edward Teller as my father’s (John von Neumann’s) boyhood friend, to whom he remained loyal even after they found themselves on opposite sides at the Oppenheimer hearings; as an unyielding proponent of nuclear energy’s uses in both peace and war; and as a gruff, bitter exile from the scientific community. Hargittai examines all these aspects of Edward Teller, and assembles them to give us a uniquely perceptive and fascinating portrait of this enigmatic genius."

- Marina von Neumann Whitman, Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy, University of Michigan

For an in-depth review by Stephen B. Libby of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory click here.

István Hargittai was introduced by László Hámos,
President of American Hungarian Library and Historical Society

István Hargittai is the author of several acclaimed books including the six-volume Candid Science series of interviews with famous scientists; The Road to Stockholm: Nobel Prizes, Science, and Scientists; The Martians of Science: Five Physicists Who Changed the Twentieth Century; and The DNA Doctor: Candid Conversations with James D. Watson. Dr. Hargittai is professor of chemistry at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics and head of the George A. Olah PhD School of Chemistry. and Chemical Engineering. 

Eugene Wigner and Edward Teller with István Hargittai

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