Chain Reaction: From Einstein to the Atomic Bomb


In the popular imagination, Albert Einstein is intimately associated with the atom bomb. A few months after the weapon was used against Japan in 1945, Time put him on its cover with an explosion mushrooming behind him that had E = mc2 emblazoned on it. In a story overseen by an editor named Whittaker Chambers, the magazine noted with its typical prose from the period: “[T]here will be dimly discernible, to those who are interested in cause & effect in history, the features of a shy, almost saintly, childlike little man with the soft brown eyes, the drooping facial lines of a world-weary hound, and hair like an aurora borealis....Albert Einstein did not work directly on the atom bomb.