He helped assemble the first atomic bomb with his own hands.
When the weapon was tested in July 1945,
he travelled from the Los Alamos laboratory to the testing site in the desert
in the back of a motor car with the bomb's plutonium core
sitting beside him in a case.
ATOMIC-BOMB SCIENTIST COMMUNIST
Philip Morrison admitted that he had been involved with the Communist Party.
...In 1955 he took up the cause of Alexander Trachtenberg,
indicted for publishing "Toward a Soviet America".
Obituary: Philip Morrison,
Telegraph, Apr 27, 2005
Philip Morrison, who died on April 22 aged 89, was one of the youngest physicists to work on the Manhattan Project, helping to assemble the first atomic bomb with his own hands; later he campaigned against the bomb, and devoted himself to finding evidence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life.
Morrison began work on the Manhattan Project in 1942, working in Chicago with Enrico Fermi to refine methods of producing plutonium for the "gadget", as it was then known. He then went to Los Alamos to help in the construction of the bomb's core. When the weapon was tested in July 1945, he travelled from the Los Alamos laboratory to the testing site in the desert in the back of a motor car with the bomb's plutonium core sitting beside him in a case. He then went to Tinian Island in the Pacific Ocean, where he helped to assemble the bomb that was to be dropped on Nagasaki.
After the Japanese surrender, Morrison was one of a team of scientists sent to inspect the damage inflicted by the atomic bombs on Japan. As he flew over Hiroshima, Morrison was horrified by what he saw: "There was just one, enormous, flat, rust-red scar, and no green or grey, because there were no roofs or vegetation left. I was pretty sure then that nothing I was going to see later would give me as much of a jolt… Most of us who hadn't dropped out of this atom project during the last two or three years had developed our own private justifications for staying with it. I know I had done so."
As a result of this experience, Morrison began to campaign for the international control of atomic research. "Destruction," he wrote, "has now changed qualitatively with this new energy. War can now destroy not cities, but nations." He added: "Another war cannot be allowed." The benefits of atomic energy were, he said, "almost limitless", but they required international co-operation and civilian, not military, control.
Philip Morrison was born at Somerville, New Jersey, on November 7 1915. At the age of four he contracted polio, which left him partly handicapped. He attended school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before going on to the Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he took a Science degree; he then wrote a thesis on atomic electrodynamics at the University of California at Berkeley under J Robert Oppenheimer, later director of the atomic energy research project at Los Alamos, New Mexico. In 1946 Morrison was appointed an associate professor at Cornell University, where he remained until 1964.
Eleven years earlier , citing scholastic freedom, he had taken up the cause of Alexander Trachtenberg, indicted for publishing works such as Toward a Soviet America. Called before the Senate's internal security sub-committee, Morrison denied that he was a Communist, although he admitted that he had been involved with the Communist Party as late as 1942; he insisted that his superiors on the Manhattan Project had been aware of this.
However, Nigel West, in his book Mortal Crimes (2004), about Soviet penetration of the Manhattan Project, says that Morrison was suspected of being the agent codenamed "Relay" or "Serb" by the Russians, on the basis of one of the VENONA cables, decrypted Soviet intelligence signals. A communication of 1944 included the words: "Your proposal to make RELAY group leader… is impracticable. RELAY is disabled and has an artificial leg. Frequent trips are difficult for him… He lives in the Philadelphia area." West says that "it was noted that Philip Morrison lived with his parents in Philadelphia in 1943, and wore a caliper on a leg weakened by childhood polio". (In fact, Morrison appears to have been based in Chicago during this period.) As late as the 1990s, Morrison was still under suspicion; but he was always adamant that he had never been a Soviet agent.
At Cornell, Morrison began to interest himself in theoretical astrophysics, and estimated that there could be several billion planets capable of sustaining advanced life forms. With a colleague, Giuseppe Cocconi, he attempted to locate radio signals from extraterrestrial beings, and he wrote extensively on the subject in scientific journals and popular magazines. In 1976 Nasa asked him to chair a group of scientists dedicated to locating messages from outer space.
In 1964 Morrison joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and nine years later he became MIT's Professor of Physics. Among the phenomena he investigated were quasars, black holes and supernovae. Having concluded that supernovae probably created elements including lead, uranium, deuterium and gold, he remarked: "Between bullets and printers' type, gold and nuclear weapons, all our troubles seem to come from supernovae." Morrison was a gifted lecturer who also campaigned hard for the teaching of science in schools. Among his publications were Elementary Nuclear Theory (with Hans Bethe, 1956), and The Price of Defense: A New Strategy for Military Spending (1979), in which he and others argued for a 42 per cent cut in American defence spending and a shift to missile-carrying submarines as the principal deterrent. In 1961 he co-edited Charles Babbage and His Calculating Engines. He was a co-founder of the Federation of American Scientists. In 1938 he married Emily Kramer. In 1965, he married, secondly, Phylis Hagen Singer, with whom he had a son. She died in 2002.
Mar 1, 1950: Communist spy jailed for 14 years (Klaus Emil Julius Fuchs, 38, a committed Communist, disclosing atom secrets in Engalnd in 1943 & 1947 and in the USA in 1944 & 1945)
JULY 16 A SIGNIFICANT DATE and NUKES GO MAINSTREAM
MCCARTHY GLIMPSED VISCIOUS TRUTH and SOVIET DEFECTOR IGOR GOUZENKO
ORWELL'S CRYPTO-COMMIE LIST and ORWELL'S PUBLISHING PROBLEMS
Go to 13.Weapons and 6.Super-States and 35.Brotherhood
Physicist helped build first A-bomb (admitted involved with Communist Party). Telegraph, Apr 29, 2005
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