Galileo's Children: Science, Sakharov, and the Power of the State

George Bailey, Author
George Bailey, Author Arcade Publishing $24.95 (458p) ISBN 978-1-55970-078-8
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
Physicist Robert Oppenheimer, who presided over the invention of the atomic bomb, strongly advocated that the hydrogen bomb should not be developed. His political views led to an examination by the Atomic Energy Commission's security board in 1954. Andrei Sakharov, ``father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb,'' was summoned before the U.S.S.R's deputy prosecutor general, then persecuted, for his human rights activities. In this dense study, Bailey ( The Germans ) draws parallels between these two dissenters and a third--Galileo, whose scientific discoveries displeased an Inquisition tribunal. This analogy breaks down as Bailey devotes chapters to Marxism and its adoption in Russia, to the pseudoscience of Soviet botanist Trofim Lysenko, who flourished under Stalin, to Chernobyl, the European ecology movement and the Soviet economy under perestroika. His study, which includes transcripts of Sakharov's interviews with the press, is useful primarily as a human rights document on the struggle for basic freedoms. (Apr.)
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