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John Wheeler’s H-bomb blues (scitation.org)
68 points by sohkamyung 40 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments

One suggestion: go with the PDF and not the web page. Grab a comfy recliner and just tune out for a while. The difference between the layouts of the magazine article and the webpage are atrocious. Shows you what we've lost in this modern age :(

I'll buy his book. It will go along with many others I've accumulated from that era, such as a 'A Short History of Nuclear Folly'. Atom bombs and planes is what that time was all about, for me.

Nice example of how personal preferences can be different (and probably dependant on the choice of reading medium).

My first impression upon loading the article on my 5.8" phone's web browser was: "Wow, an easily readable article, at last!". To me, PDF seems readable only on much bigger screens or printed.


PDF: https://imgur.com/a/RaPE4Av

HTML: https://imgur.com/a/YpLnclz

I was also struck by how readable (on a phone) the web article is. I appreciate the clear effort in both formats. I also liked they they had a DOI up top.

If medical journals could present the online versions of articles this nicely I would be a much happier person, and would also have far less files called 1-s2.387-887sd-main.pdf and similar.

(Another day, another person on the interwebs assuming their preferences and tastes are the right ones. Not sure what you're looking at. The article looks great on my tablet and I happily read the entire thing without a second thought.)

Anyways, this document was definitely stolen and Bordan (or someone close to him) most likely was the culprit. Just as the Russians are sowing discord among Americans now, this is what they were doing then as well. Bordon wanted to collect all the info about the H-Bomb in one place, almost took down Wheeler and successfully took down Oppenheimer later. Pretty suspicious.

another day, another person on the interwebs attacking what is clearly a suggestion (with a supporting narrative) thinking it's presented as gospel.

the typesetting in the pdf is clearly superb to my tastes. there are many ways to present he same dish. i prefer the fancier that can be enjoyed longer.

The author, Alex Wellerstein, will blog more about this topic and these related:


The FOIA request files he obtained and on which he based his article (and will also be among the sources of his upcoming book) are still unpublished, but he already published on his blog a sample:


"a short (24-page) excerpt from Wheeler’s FBI file"

There you can see some copies of the letters directly signed by John Edgar Hoover, probably typed on IBM Executive A with a beautiful proportional font, even in 1953.

The blog is worth reading for those who are interested in the topic, and also the upcoming book.

Made me think about Fuchs. Given his life experience, what he did made perfect sense, to him.

Wait what? Are you talking about Klaus Fuchs who was found guilty of treason?

Yes that one. And from Richard Rhodes books about the bomb, from Fuchs lived experience, what he did made perfect sense: he was a life long communist, and was hugely concerned by the lack of information sharing while the Russians bore the brunt of the human cost of the war. He had direct experience of the prewar nazi regime. Post gaol, Fuchs led the East German nuclear power research programme. He got on with his life.

it's kind of a strange point to make, but I think you're right

Whereas what teller did you Oppenheimer...

Read the article carefully, Oppenheimer was a target of a mad development of a self-excuse of the guy who organized the making of that document, 6 pages of which Wheeler lost:

"After being fired, Borden went back into private law practice. His initial suspicions of the AEC blossomed into an obsession with a conspiracy theory. What if the AEC had been behind the loss of the document? He began to believe that Oppenheimer himself, long an object of his suspicions, had somehow induced Wheeler to lose the document. For the rest of 1953, Borden would conspire—with help from other enemies of Oppenheimer—to bring Oppenheimer down, one way or another.

The culmination of that activity was a letter that Borden wrote to Hoover in November 1953, alleging that after years of considered study he believed “that more probably than not J. Robert Oppenheimer is an agent of the Soviet Union.” "

Insane, but so typical. Every conspiracy is easier to believe than acknowledging to oneself one is wrong.

with help from other enemies of Oppenheimer

Who do you think these are? Lewis Strauss and Teller would be hard to walk past.

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