28 Mar

True Genius – Physics, Science Politics & the Hydrogen Bomb

28 Mar 2017
4:30 pm to 5:30 pm
AAAS Headquarters- Auditorium

This talk is part of the monthly Colloquium Series offered by AAAS to provide a forum to explore timely topics relevant to science and society. If you would like to know more about the Series, or if you would like to propose a speaker, please contact hmcinnis@aaas.org.

Up until now, Richard Garwin was virtually unknown outside the world of physics and science politics.  To change that, True Genius by Joel Shurkin, was written at the encouragement and with the support of many physicists. It is his first and only biography. The book has three sections: the hydrogen bomb, his inventions and discoveries, and the intersection of science and government and why scientists have lost the influence they once had. Hardly anyone knows the true story of the hydrogen bomb. Edward Teller spent his adult life being called life the “father of the hydrogen bomb, but he (along with Stanislav Ulam) did not know how to build one. Garwin, the 23-year- old protégé of Enrico Fermi, did. The first bomb was built using his design. True Genius contains the first complete description of the invention of the bomb, taken in part from once classified material.  Garwin is most famous in physics for his experiment on the violation of parity, which showed that the world in the mirror doesn’t always mimic the world being reflected. Much of the book centers on Garwin’s efforts at disarmament, essentially mitigating the threat from the device he designed, and on bringing science to government policy — and why that often fails. Science no longer has the influence it once did , and the book explores the reasons. Joining Garwin will be Charles Ferguson, the resident of the Federation of American Scientists  and  Joel Shrukin, the author of the book.