He is known for his work on uranium-isotope separation for the Manhattan Project, as well as for founding the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Just 23 days after his death, the Regents of the University of California voted to rename two of the university’s nuclear research sites after Lawrence: the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In the 1980s, Lawrence’s widow petitioned the University of California Board of Regents on several occasions to remove her husband’s name from the Livermore Laboratory, due to its focus on nuclear weapons Lawrence helped build, but was denied each time.
Edward Teller was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist who is known colloquially as “the father of the hydrogen bomb”. He was a co-founder of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and was both its director and associate director for many years. Teller promoted increased defense spending to counter the perceived Soviet missile threat. He was a signatory to the 1958 report by the military sub-panel of the Rockefeller Brothers funded Special Studies Project, which called for a $3 billion annual increase in America’s military budget. Teller established the Department of Applied Science at the University of California, Davis and LLNL in 1963, which holds the Edward Teller endowed professorship in his honor. In 1975 he retired from both the lab and Berkeley, and was named Director Emeritus of the Livermore Laboratory and appointed Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He was awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2003, less than two months before his death.
Ray Kidder is an American physicist and nuclear weapons designer. He is best known for his outspoken views on nuclear weapons policy issues, including nuclear testing, stockpile management, and arms control. In 1960, Kidder worked with John Nuckolls and Stirling Colgate at Livermore to develop computer simulations for producing nuclear fusion in laser-compressed deuterium-tritium capsules. The results of this work led to Livermore’s laser fusion program in 1962, which Kidder was appointed the head of. This program used weapons-derived calculations in an attempt to make usable nuclear fusion sources. In 1979, Kidder was a witness for the defense in the United States v. The Progressive case, in which the U.S. Department of Energy sought to suppress the publication of a magazine article alleged to reveal the “secret of the hydrogen bomb”.
Kidder favored uncensored publication of the material, which had been compiled from unclassified sources, and claimed that Nobel Prize-winning physicist Hans Bethe had been misinformed when Bethe swore an affidavit in favor of censorship. Bethe and Kidder then engaged in a classified correspondence debating the issue. The correspondence was declassified in 2001. In 1997, Kidder argued against the Department of Energy’s Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program, calling it “misguided in a number of ways”, including introducing unnecessary changes in warhead materials, the cost of large-scale computational and experimental resources, and its effects on arms control efforts. He also criticized the building of the National Ignition Facility, saying it was not essential for stockpile stewardship.
He was the first director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 1952 to 1958. After leaving the laboratory in 1958, he held numerous positions in both government and academia, including the first Chief Scientist of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the first Director of Defense Research and Engineering.
The Senate confirmed Richardson to be Clinton’s Secretary of Energy on July 31, 1998. His tenure at the Department of Energy was marred by the Wen Ho Lee nuclear controversy. As told by The New York Times in a special report, a scientist later named as Dr. Lee at the Los Alamos National Laboratory was reported as a suspect who might have given nuclear secrets to the Chinese government. Richardson tightened security following the scandal, leading to the creation of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA, not to be confused with the NSA and the NSC). This foreshadowed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in reaction to the 9/11 attacks. Richardson also became the first Energy Secretary to implement a plan to dispose of nuclear waste.
Richardson also joined Kissinger McLarty Associates, a “strategic advisory firm” headed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Clinton White House chief of staff Mack McLarty, as Senior Managing Director. From February 2001 to June 2002, he served on the board of directors of Peregrine Systems, Inc. He also served on the corporate boards of several energy companies, including Valero Energy Corporation and Diamond Offshore Drilling. He withdrew from these boards after being nominated by the Democratic Party for governor of New Mexico, but retained considerable stock holdings in Valero and Diamond Offshore. He would later sell these stocks during his campaign for President in 2007, saying he was “getting questions” about the propriety of these holdings, especially given his past as energy secretary, and that it had become a distraction.
The LLNL were able to achieve a National Security title because the military first became interested in using this technology to build a nuclear weapon in 1963.
This was the origin of the “Q-Division” and called the “Q-Switched Laser”