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|"Linus Pauling, Crusading Scientist." 1977.
Produced for NOVA by Robert Richter/WGBH-Boston.
Early Lectures on Peace. (2:12)
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Linus Pauling: I was asked very soon after the atomic bombs were used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
to give talks to groups of citizens -- Rotary Club sort of thing. I remember the
first one was in Hollywood. I was asked because I was known as a speaker about scientific
subjects, who could present the material to the public at large. And, of course, I
hadn't been involved at all in the atomic bomb project, the Manhattan Project. But
I had a moderate amount of knowledge in the field already, and I did have the benefit
of the Smythe Report -- this was after the Smythe Report had been published, as I
So I talked about the nature of nuclear fission, and of atomic bombs, without saying
much about the significance for the world, or about the necessity for abolishing war.
I could, of course, talk about how great the destructive power of these weapons were.
I even gave my own estimate of how much fissionable material was contained in an atomic
bomb. I had made up two small hemispheres of wood, by sawing a wooden ball in two.
I said, "this weighs perhaps ten pounds and if these two pieces of plutonium were
to be pushed very rapidly together, by shooting...one from a gun at the other one,
then nuclear fission would occur very rapidly and one would have the explosion, the
ClipCreator: Linus Pauling
Clip ID: 1977v.66-peacelectures
Full WorkCreator: Robert Richter, WGBH-Boston
Associated: Linus Pauling, Ava Helen Pauling, David Shoemaker, E. Bright Wilson, Jr., Frank Catchpool
Copyright: More Information