Hans Bethe: The other was M - A - D, MAD [Mutually Assured Destruction], which essentially says that nuclear weapons make sense only as a safeguard against nuclear weapons. As [Wolfgang] Panofsky has said recently, and there is actually an article by him, "It is not a doctrine. It is a fact of life. Nothing else is possible, whatever you might wish.” So I think you should not present it as something really unavoidable, without any movements in the opposite direction.
Cold War Nuclear Tests
Martin Sherwin: This morning I am making arrangements to interview Norris Bradbury in Los Alamos, New Mexico. January 10, 1985.
How would you characterize the major problems that [J. Robert] Oppenheimer had when he first got the job as the administrator for Los Alamos? Or at least, when you came on?
Ralph Lapp: I am Ralph Lapp, L-A-P-P. I am a physicist, nuclear physicist, an author, and a consultant. I have engaged in finance and technology.
Interviewer: Great. What can you tell us about your role in the Manhattan Project?
Siegfried Hecker: The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings [Act] brings back memories.
Richard Rhodes: No, exactly.
Martin Sherwin: This is an interview with Hans Bethe in his office at Newman Hall, Cornell University, May 5, 1982. This is Martin Sherwin.
Sherwin: I’m glad I caught this. Basically, you were surprised that Kyoto had been selected and at these meetings, that the Target Committee had been held in the Oppenheimer’s office.
Richard Rhodes: You said [Richard] Courant’s work added realism?
Ted Taylor: Yeah.
Rhodes: How so?
Taylor: By going over various tricks for dealing with the discontinuities, the singularities in the hydrodynamics. I had the impression that he was very helpful to people like Bob Richtmyer. I don’t know that Richard himself came up with anything all new and different, I don’t know. But he was very articulate and active.
Richard Rhodes: How did you get involved in the program?
Marshall Rosenbluth: Well, you can probably guess. I’ve already told you that I was a student of [Edward] Teller’s. I was in the Navy during the war and then went back to the University of Chicago where my parents were living, to graduate school, and became a student of Teller’s. I’m not quite sure exactly how. He was a professor in one of my courses.
Charles Critchfield: Is that your book, by the way?
Richard Rhodes: Yes.
Critchfield: Making of the Atomic Bomb?
Critchfield: I’ve always heard it, Making of the Bomb. No, I didn’t know it was your book. Rubby Sherr sent me that, and he also sent me excerpts from two or three other books on the bomb. Rubby was my main man in my group for making the Initiator.
Charles Critchfield was a mathematical physicist assigned to work on the development of gun-type fission weapons, and eventually implosion-type weapons, at Los Alamos. He returned to Los Alamos in 1952 to work on the development of the hydrogen bomb.
Ted Taylor: I think Carson Mark is the most valuable resource to talk to about what happened in those days at Los Alamos. At Livermore, [Edward] Teller, certainly.
Richard Rhodes: Teller won't talk to me, I'm afraid. He’s decided I’m the enemy.