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Old 02-07-2014, 07:11 PM
 
Location: NH
820 posts, read 757,729 times
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I see a lot of science lovers, "world peace" types and "truth seekers" that like to quote Einstein and extol his theories and intelligence but rarely do I see them talk about his contribution and promotion in the making of the atomic bomb. What do you think about this? How much is Einstein really responsible for the bomb and its use? Why did he send the letter?
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Old 02-08-2014, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Sarasota, FL
1,722 posts, read 1,830,341 times
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If he didnt figure it out, the next guy would have. People always take technology and make good and evil things with it.

Good Example: Security cameras

Bad (or great) example: Hidden dressing room cameras
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:49 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,840 posts, read 51,286,023 times
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It might help if you showed what your position was. E. was made aware of the possibility of Germany developing such a weapon and broached the subject in a letter to the President, which eventually led to development. Are you suggesting that the messenger be killed? Are you suggesting he thought "Oooh! If I write a letter, I might get to develop a massive weapon?" Your premise seems to have a chip on its shoulder.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:50 PM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
3,738 posts, read 6,213,751 times
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The war could have ended very differently, and we would be living in a very different world today, if somebody else had developed the technology first.
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Old 02-14-2014, 02:20 PM
 
Location: 10110001010110100
6,256 posts, read 10,326,760 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beninfl View Post
If he didnt figure it out, the next guy would have. People always take technology and make good and evil things with it.

Good Example: Security cameras

Bad (or great) example: Hidden dressing room cameras
When the military or DOD shows up at your door, asking you to do something for your country, you can bet the farm that it will not be something noble or good for the humankind.

He should have smelled it a mile away but I am guessing he was adamantly persuaded into doing it.
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Old 02-14-2014, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
10,577 posts, read 6,823,128 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurcoLoco View Post
When the military or DOD shows up at your door, asking you to do something for your country, you can bet the farm that it will not be something noble or good for the humankind.

He should have smelled it a mile away but I am guessing he was adamantly persuaded into doing it.
The military didn't 'show up at [Einstein's] door', physicists Leo Szilard and Eugene Wigner did - they literally drive to Einstein's house and described the concept of nuclear weapons, of which Einstein at the time was unaware. After some time and some ineffective attempts to bring the issue of the potential of Nazi Germany developing such a device to various authorities, Einstein ultimate worked on, and signed, a jointly-drafted letter which was delivered to President Roosevelt, specifically describing the potential creation of a nuclear weapon and warning that Germany might be trying to develop one. In other words, it was Einstein (and others) coming to the U.S. government, not the other way around.

Einstein was not involved in the Manhattan Project. His only contribution was indirect - a couple days work solving a theoretical problem related to enrichment via gaseous diffusion. He was excluded from any more substantive work because of his pacifist views; he was seen as a security risk, and thus was not brought into the loop at all regarding the development of the bomb or consideration of its deployment.

So, no, Albert Einstein was not 'persuaded' into helping develop a nuclear weapon.
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Old 02-14-2014, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Tyler, TX
15,194 posts, read 17,683,182 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurcoLoco View Post
When the military or DOD shows up at your door, asking you to do something for your country, you can bet the farm that it will not be something noble or good for the humankind.
Yeah, just think of how much better the world would be without the Transmission Control Protocol!

Last edited by swagger; 02-14-2014 at 05:15 PM..
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:17 AM
 
Location: An Island with a View
758 posts, read 761,649 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Know Nonsense View Post
I see a lot of science lovers, "world peace" types and "truth seekers" that like to quote Einstein and extol his theories and intelligence but rarely do I see them talk about his contribution and promotion in the making of the atomic bomb. What do you think about this? How much is Einstein really responsible for the bomb and its use? Why did he send the letter?
Funny you should ask. I just finished reading his biography recently.

According to the author, he signed the letter because he was too afraid of the Nazis and what they did to his own people at the time. He started out as a strong pacifist and was totally against conscription. But when he witnessed what the Nazis was capable of, he made a 180 degree turn and abandoned the pacifist's view completely. He began to believe in fighting evil with evil which he was later regret.

Also, at the time Einstein was aware of the fact that there were few Nazis scientists studying the possibility of using atomic science to release horrifically destructive energy which could destroy an entire city, the very same thing the scientists including himself in the US was studying. He was so afraid that the Nazis would succeed in developing the bomb first before the US did and turn the war around.

These are some of the reasons why he signed the letters urging the development of atomic weapon in the US. There were two versions of the letter, a short version and a detail one. It was actually sent by Szilard to president Roosevelt, not by Einstein himself. Szilard was the main character pulling strings behind the whole thing. It turned out the Nazis didn't have all the necessary knowledge, time and funding to create an A. bomb, contrary to what Einstein believed. It was only in a research stage and was quickly abandoned.

Essentially Einstein was driven by fear and paranoia into his involvement in promoting the creation of the bomb, but there were other scientists involved and other players who had the political strength to pull it off. Einstein was more of an influential figure that was used as a figure head by others like Szilard who would very much want to see the theoretic atomic science being turned into reality and give it concrete military application.

The pacifist view of Einstein was fickle at best but he by no means was evil minded in his assertion that building the bomb was a right thing to do at the time, if that is what you're getting at. He had absolutely nothing to do with the decision in actually releasing the bomb in Japan. That was war politics. You should read and find out more if you're interested in the subject.
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