Authors > HG Wells and How the Atom Bomb Changed Everything
“Nuclear Age anxieties had a profound effect on film, TV, music and literature – artists found creative responses to the spectre of destruction,” writes Samira Ahmed for the BBC: How the Bomb Changed Everything. HG Wells – the subject of acclaimed biography H.G. Wells: Another Kind of Life by Peter Owen author Michael Sherborne – played a significant role in the genesis of nuclear weapons:
In London’s Russell Square, Samira retraces the steps of Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard who conceived the neutron chain reaction. Amid the bustle and noise of the capital in 1933, he suddenly realised how to exploit the potential of nuclear energy and – because he’d read Wells – the devastating impact it would have.
But what could he do? How easy is it to keep a secret in the scientific community, with war looming? Once a dangerous, world-changing idea exists, is it possible to contain it?
To find out, Samira speaks to nuclear physicist Dr Elizabeth Cunningham; Graham Farmelo, author of Churchill’s Bomb; Professor Lisa Jardine; Andrew Nahum, chief curator of “Churchill’s Scientists” at the Science Museum, London; and Michael Sherborne, author of HG Wells – Another Kind of Life.