Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1908, Edward Teller completed his Ph.D. in physics in 1930 at the University of Leipzig in Germany. Teller moved to the United States with his wife in 1935 and they became US citizens in 1941. Teller is most known for his significant role in advocating and developing thermonuclear weapons. He also served as chairman of the first Nuclear Reaction Safeguard Committee.
In 1942, Teller joined the Manhattan Project. During World War II, Teller worked on the first nuclear reactor, theoretical calculations of the effects of a fission explosion and research on a potential fusion reaction. From 1954 to 1958, Teller served as Associate Director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and from 1956 to 1958 he also served as a member of the General Advisory Committee of the US Atomic Energy Commission. He was Director of the Laboratory from 1958 to 1960. In 1960 he accepted a joint appointment as a professor of physics at the University of California and Associate Director of the laboratory until his retirement in 1975.
In the 1980s, Teller was instrumental in convincing US President Ronald Reagan to move forward with the Strategic Defense Initiative (also referred to as "Star Wars").