Russian Physicist Andrei Sakharov

Russian physicist Andrei Sakharov

Andrei Sakharov: Graffiti on the Berlin Wall

Physicist Andrei Sakharov was one of the creators of the most terrible weapon –the hydrogen bomb, and he still received … the Nobel Peace Prize.

Building a Thermonuclear weapon – a Hydrogen Bomb

Shortly after the end of World War II, a talented young physicist joined the group of Igor Tamm, which was supposed to develop a thermonuclear weapon with a destructive power was existent in the history before.

Sakharov spent 18 years in a closed up and a secret city spending most of his time on the development of a thermonuclear weapon. Works with participation of Sakharov were successful – in 1953 the first thermonuclear explosion was made.

Government Awards

Gratitude of the Government of the Soviet Union for the work on creating the hydrogen bomb knew no bounds. In the closed up city the scientist had absolutely everything from material benefits and the highest state awards and bonuses, ending with a public recognition – he was elected an academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (which later became the Russian Academy of Sciences).

Changes in the Mindset of the Scientist

While creating the hydrogen bomb, Sakharov participated in test runs of this horrible weapon, and he saw the consequences caused by a thermonuclear explosion. Sakharov gradually realized the danger that threatens all humanity from the nuclear and thermonuclear weapons.

Indeed, today there are models that can show that even the local use of nuclear weapons will lead to deaths of billions of people because of the systemic factors and will roll back our civilization in the best case scenario to the Dark Ages.

And in the case of a massive use of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons, not only the whole of humanity, but also to almost all living things will disappear from the face of the earth. And the Earth will turn into a lifeless piece of ice, pointlessly flying in space.

First Peace Initiatives by Sakharov

Sakharov was one of the initiators of concluding the Moscow to ban nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, in water and in outer space. Because of that, then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev launched a campaign against Andrei Sakharov.

But it was not enough, because underground tests of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons continued on.

Convergence Theory

Sakharov proposed a theory according to which there had to be a convergence of capitalist and socialist worlds. At the same time only the most essential weapons should be kept. Particular attention is paid to the human rights and the freedom of speech. However, neither the capitalist world, nor the socialist world embraced Sakharov’s ideas.

Graffiti on the Berlin Wall

Human Rights Committee

All human beings are born free.

From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

In 1970, Andrei Sakharov, together with physicists Valery Chalidze and Andrei Tverdokhlebov organized the Human Rights Committee in order to truly implement in the USSR the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


The “system” could not forgive Sakharov such liberties. One of the highlights of the persecution of Sakharov was an attempt to exclude him from the members of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (Sakharov was already an academician of many foreign academies).

Only Pyotr Kapitsa spoke up against it. During the discussion, he gave an example of a similar shameful precedent that occurred before. In 1933, the fascists expelled from the Berlin Academy of SciencesAlbert Einstein. This argument was enough to block the expulsion of Sakharov.


In 1980, because of the protests of Sakharov against the Afghan war, the scientist was deprived of all academic honors and awards, and exiled to the city of Gorky (Nizhny Novgorod), where he was placed under house arrest. Only in 1986, Mikhail Gorbachev allowed him to come back and continue his research work.

But the things he wanted to say, even in the conditions of perestroika he was not always able to say.

“For thousands of years human tribes went through a tough selection for survival; and in this struggle it was important not only to be able to handle a the ability to own a club, but also to be reasonable, to preserve traditions, to be capable of altruistic help. Today, the whole of humanity is taking the same exam. “

A. Sakharov / From his Nobel lecture

See also:

Tsar Bomb


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