Andrei Sakharov – father of the hydrogen bomb
Peace, progress, human rights – these three goals are insolubly linked to one another: it is impossible to achieve one of these goals if the other two are ignored.
Some people remember Andrei Sakharov as the “father of the hydrogen bomb”, the others as human rights activist and dissident. Hard to believe, but there are two faces of one person.
Sakharov, a nuclear physicist, the youngest academician, three times Hero of Socialist Labor, brilliant scientist … At some point, he started to think about social problems and came to the idea of radical change to the country. The conflict with the government led to exile. And then followed the rise: the return to Moscow, millions of people listened to his words, almost national mourning after the death…
He had a quaint destiny: he became the creator of the most devastating weapons, and then – “dove of peace”, a fighter for human rights.
Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov, an outstanding scientist and public figure, was born on the 21st of May, 1921, into the family of teachers. He graduated from Moscow State University in 1942. After graduating from the university he started his work in physics. In 1947 he defended his thesis for the degree of Candidate of Science. By the age of 32 he was one of the world’s most famous scientists who lived in Russia.
In the summer of 1943 Andrei married Claudia Vyakhireva. Their marriage lasted for 26 years, until Claudia’s death.
In 1953 he defended his Doctorate thesis and was elected member of the Academy of Sciences. He became the youngest academician in Russia. Unlike many scientists Sakharov realized advantages and disadvantages of technical progress in modern world. Sakharov played a decisive role in developing the Soviet hydrogen bomb. While working on the bomb he came to the conclusion that any atomic and nuclear weapons should be banned.
In 1966 he took part in his first human rights demonstration, a one-minute silent protest in Pushkin Square. A year later, he wrote a letter to Communist Party leader Leonid Brezhnev defending imprisoned dissidents.
In 1972 Sakharov married Elena Bonner and they were together until Sakharov’s death.
He fought courageously for human rights in the former USSR and in 1975 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
His international repute as a scientist kept him out of jail, but in 1980 he was deprived of all his titles and orders and exiled to the city of Gorky. In Gorky he continued to work for peace, justice and human rights.
It was Michail Gorbachev who helped A. Sakharov to return to Moscow. He was given back all his titles and 3 years later he was elected deputy of the Supreme Soviet.
Sakharov died in 1989. He is remembered by everybody as an outstanding humanist, one of the best representatives of humankind who could teach and inspire and who foresaw the changes that are taking place now.
Now, many years after Sakharov’s death people still share his ideas.