• When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success,’ he admitted in 1954. ‘That’s the way it was with the atomic bomb.’ (View Highlight)
  • The Cold War was a cash bonanza for American physicists, but, for some, it was also a moral and political dilemma. (View Highlight)
  • Another consequence of Hiroshima was that some of the Manhattan Project scientists became public moralists, with all the strains this put on their role as courtiers of the Atomic State. The motives for their moralising were both personal and technical. First, they felt that they possessed unique knowledge about the weapons they had created, what these weapons could do, what was likely to come next and what effects they would have on both political structures and military strategies. Fearing that their political masters, and the public, understood the new realities badly or not at all, some scientists took it on themselves to moralise not just about what to do in a world of nuclear weapons but about the nature of moral action in such a world. Secondly, they had brought these terrible weapons into being, and, while some were not wracked by crises of conscience, others were. They wanted to say in public why they had done it, and why it was the right, or at least an excusable, thing to do. (View Highlight)