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Hans Albrecht Bethe

Hans Albrecht Bethe, an American physicist from Strassburg, Germany, was educated at Frankfurt and Munich universities. He was born in 1906 and moved to the United States in 1935 to teach at Cornell University. He was the Director of the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory and participated at the most senior level in the World War II Manhattan Project that produced the first atomic weapons. During 1935-1938, he studied nuclear reactions and reaction cross sections. This research was useful to Bethe in more quantitatively developing Neil Bohr's theory of the compound nucleus. During the '80s and '90s he campaigned for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. He is most noted for his theories on atomic properties. In 1967, Bethe was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in solar and stellar energy.

In 1995, at the age of 88, Bethe wrote an open letter calling on all scientists to "cease and

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desist" from working on any aspect of nuclear weapons development and manufacture:

"I am one of the few remaining such senior persons alive. Looking back at the half century since that time, I feel the most intense relief that these weapons have not been used since World War II, mixed with the horror that tens of thousands of such weapons have been built since that time one hundred times more than any of us at Los Alamos could ever have imagined.

"Today we are rightly in an era of disarmament and dismantlement of nuclear weapons. But in some countries nuclear weapons development still continues. Whether and when the various Nations of the world can agree to stop this is uncertain. But individual scientists can still influence this process by withholding their skills. Accordingly, I call on all scientists in all countries to cease and desist from work creating, developing, improving and manufacturing further nuclear weapons; and, for that matter, other weapons of potential mass destruction such as chemical and biological weapons."