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Science History Podcast

Apr 11, 2024

Perhaps the most overlooked scientist who played critical roles in the development of the atomic bomb was Leo Szilard. With us to explore Szilard's numerous contributions to science and society is William Lanouette. Bill is a writer and public policy analyst who has specialized in the history of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. He received an A.B. in English with a minor in Philosophy at Fordham College in 1963, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Political Science at the London School of Economics and the University of London in 1966 and 1973, respectively. Bill then worked as a journalist for Newsweek, The National Observer, and National Journal, and he was the Washington Correspondent for The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He has also written for The Atlantic, The Economist, Scientific American, The New York Herald Tribune, The Washington Post, and many other outlets. Bill also worked as a Senior Analyst for Energy and Science Issues at the US Government Accountability Office. Bill's first book was Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, the Man Behind the Bomb, published by Scribner's in 1992, with later editions published by the University of Chicago Press and Skyhorse Publications. Bill also published, in 2021, The Triumph of the Amateurs: The Rise, Ruin, and Banishment of Professional Rowing in The Gilded Age. In this episode, we discuss all things Szilard: the man, the war, the bomb, the innovations, the collaborations, the accusations of espionage, the conflicts, and even the Martians.