Announcing A Celebration, at the joint meeting of the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, April 18, 1998 at 14:30.


Leo Szilard -- physicist, inventor, biologist, writer, and sometime diplomat -- was the first to conceive of the nuclear chain reaction, the essential features of the carbon-uranium reactor (in collaboration with Enrico Fermi), the cyclotron, and the linear accelerator. He proposed and drafted in 1939 Einstein's letter to President Franklin Roosevelt, which led to the Manhattan Project; and he gained, during a private meeting in 1960, Nikita Khrushchev's assent to a Moscow-Washington Hotline.

His interests ranged from statistical physics to information theory to biological evolution, from atomic physics to nuclear strategy and deterrence. His novel, The Voice of the Dolphins, is a parable of the technical prowess and moral limitations of our times. This "man behind the bomb" (as biographer William Lanouette puts it), was also a man who attempted many times during 1945 to prevent the atomic bombing of Japan. Szilard devoted his life primarily to increasing the likelihood that the ever more powerful fruits of science would be used for humanity's benefit.


László Baksay, University of Alabama and Kossuth University, Debrecen, Hungary, presiding.

Greetings from the Embassy of the Republic of Hungary, Istvan Szemenyei, Counselor for Science and Technology

"The roots of Leo Szilard and his Interdisciplinarity," George Marx, Eötvös University, Budapest

"Leo Szilard: Physics, Politics, and the Narrow Margin of Hope," William Lanouette, Author of Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, The Man Behind the Bomb

"Szilard As An Inventor: Accelerators and More," V.L. Telegdi, University of California at San Diego, and CERN

"Toward A Livable World," Edward Gerjuoy, University of Pittsburgh

The symposium is sponsored by the American Physical Society Forum on International Physics, the Forum on Physics and Society, and the Forum on the History of Physics.

Abstracts are available online at For general information about the April APS/AAPT joint meeting, visit the APS website at

For more information about the Szilard session, contact László Baksay ( or Art Hobson (

Updated: February 26, 1998
Gene Dannen /

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