Nobel Laureate Hans Bethe passes away at age of 98
Monday, March 7, 2005
Bethe, whose mother was [[Judaism|Jewish}}, fled Germany in 1933 when the Adolf Hitler's first anti-Semitic acts. Bethe moved first to England and in 1935 to the USA where he taught at Cornell University.came to power. Bethe, along with hundreds of other Jewish academics, were fired from their posts as a result of one of
Between 1935 and 1938, he studiedand reaction cross sections. This research was useful to Bethe in more quantitatively developing 's theory of the compound nucleus.
During World War II, he served as a prominent member of a special summer session at the at the invitation of , which outlined the first designs for the and served as the beginning of the . When Oppenheimer started the secret weapons design laboratory, , he appointed Bethe as Director of the Theoretical Division.
After the war, Bethe argued that a crash project for theshould not be attempted, though after announced the beginning of such a crash project, and the outbreak of the , he signed up and played a key role in the weapon's development. In 1968, he reflected upon the choice, noting that "It seemed quite logical. But sometimes I wish I were more consistent an idealist." Though he would see the project through to its end, in Bethe's account he was primarily hopeful that the weapon would be impossible to produce. He later characterized as the "father" of the hydrogen bomb, and as its "mother," and himself as its "midwife."
Among his many honors, Bethe received thein 1955, and in 1961 he was awarded the of the for his work in identifying the energy generating processes in stars. In 1967, Bethe was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his studies of the production of solar and stellar energy, . He postulated that the source of this energy are in which was converted into .
During the 1980s and 1990s, Bethe campaigned for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, arguing against the and against . In 1995, at the age of 88, Bethe wrote an open letter calling on all scientists to "cease and desist" from working on any aspect of nuclear weapons development and manufacture. In 2004, he signed a letter along with 47 other Nobel laureates endorsing John Kerry for president of the United States citing Bush's apparent misuse of science.
- "Hans Bethe, titan of physics and atom bomb project key figure, dies at 98" — , March 7, 2005
- Schweber, S. S. In the shadow of the bomb: Bethe, Oppenheimer, and the moral responsibility of the scientist (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press), 2000. Quotes about the hydrogen bomb on p. 166.