Monday, March 07, 2005

Hans Bethe

From Anonymous:

I don't really care about Admiral Butthead and the rest.
But Hans Bethe, who died Sunday, was (and is) one of my heroes. In the history of Los Alamos, he was one of the giants. One of the last.
Bill Broad has a fine piece in the New York Times, which would make a great post.
Hans Bethe will be remembered long after "them and us." Where are the Hans Bethes of today?

Thanks for the reality check. In response to you question, "Where are the Hans Bethe's of today", let me suggest the following. They have either already left or can't get to the door because their back is overloaded with IWD's, MSA's, safety and security plans.....
This is indeed sad news. Hans Bethe was a brilliant man and a decent human being. Our condolences to the family.
Yes, Hans Bethe was a brilliant scientist and also a really nice guy. When he used to visit T Division up through the early 1990s he would be more than willing to meet with you and discuss your ideas, and lend his comments or criticisms to your work. He didn't care if you were someone with political influence or not, if you were a student or staff, or what your personal politics were. His nobel prize never made him arrogant or aloof. Hans represented what was great about LANL and his association with the Lab was one of the reasons I came there as a student in the early 90s. All those like Hans have left or retired, sadly. We'll miss you, Hans.
I had the great good fortune to meet hans in the mid 90s. He was indeed a great man. How ironic that he would die at the same time as Los Alamos.
Rose, God bless you, my daugther, asked about you and your childred? Hans was a wonderful man! TL
Hans Bethe had one very special quality that has no place at LANL today, He spoke clearly and directly about the Anti-Ballistic Missile system. It was, like many present-day LANL programs, a colossal waste of money that are not be criticized by scientists who fear their salaries and benefits might be at risk. Think about his example when you see another program that is a waste of our nation’s resources. We all recognize those programs; they’re all around us.
This was buried in an earlier post; it also belongs here, for obvious reasons:

There is an amazingly LARGE NUMBER of serious people who would like to sit down and discuss, calmly, the future of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Most of those people have NOT been unduly flaming in their posts to this blog. But, even anonymously, they have tried, like good scientists, to correct factual errors and misstatements (e.g., "Too bad Physics Today is not a genuine, peer-reviewed journal").

Let us get back to the root of the problem we face--public misperception about what we do and how we do it. We, the staff members and workers at LANL, can effect a change from the bottom up. The way to do that is to engage our two Senators and our Congressman about the role that Los Alamos ought play in the certain crises our country will be facing in the next few years.

We will be needed. Let us hope that we, as a laboratory, will still be here.

Finally, let me quote from the brightest shining star of Los Alamos history, Hans Bethe, our first Theoretical Division Leader:

"Whether or not their governments respond to their advice, scientists have an OBLIGATION to speak out publicly when they feel there are dangers ahead."
(emphasis is mine.)

-Brad Lee Holian
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