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Stanford Report, July 23, 2003

Edward Teller wins Presidential Medal of Freedom


Physicist Edward Teller, a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, is among 11 Americans who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony July 23. The medal is the nation's highest civilian honor.

"Edward Teller left his native Hungary to escape the rise of Nazi Germany," according to a White House press release. "After arriving in America, he established himself as a premier physicist. His work on national defense projects such as the Manhattan Project and the Strategic Defense Initiative helped protect our Nation and bring about the end of the Cold War."

Teller, 95, is the fourth Stanford scholar to be awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom. The others are Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman (1988), former Secretary of State George Shultz (1989) and former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry (1997).

After participating in the 1945 production at Los Alamos of the first atomic bomb, Teller led the development of the hydrogen bomb. In the early 1980s, he was a major influence in President Reagan's proposal of the Strategic Defense Initiative, which aimed to create a system to defend against nuclear attacks.

Teller was instrumental in the creation of America's second nuclear weapons laboratory, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which was established in 1952 and which he directed from 1958 to 1960.

A former professor at the University of California-Berkeley, Teller has received numerous honors, including the Albert Einstein Award, the Enrico Fermi Award, the Harvey Prize from the Technion-Israel Institute and the National Medal of Science. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Nuclear Society and member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Teller will receive the honor June 23. Other honorees include actor Charlton Heston, Czech writer and leader Václav Havel and the late Wendy's founder and adoption advocate R. David Thomas.


Edward Teller