a digital library of Unitarian Universalist biographies, history, books, and media
the digital library of Unitarian Universalism
Home » Biographies » Bernard Feld

Bernard Feld

Bernard FeldDr. Bernard T. Feld, an emeritus professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who helped usher in the atomic era as an assistant to Enrico Fermi, then became a leading voice for nuclear disarmament for nearly half a century.

Dr. Feld was a graduate student and teaching assistant to physicists Fermi and Isador I. Rabi at Columbia University when he was given the opportunity to assist Fermi and physicist Leo Szilard in their efforts to produce a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

In 1941 he suspended his graduate studies to join Fermi and Szilard at the University of Chicago, where the first controlled nuclear chain reaction was achieved in the Metallurgical Laboratory on December 2, 1942.

He was appointed an instructor in physics at MIT in 1946, but before taking up his duties he spent six months in Washington, D.C. where he and other leading physicists were lobbying against military control of nuclear research and weapons development. The result was legislation setting up the civilian Atomic Energy Agency. It was the beginning of a lifelong commitment to peaceful uses of atomic power and to ending the threat of nuclear war.

Dr. Feld was president of the Council for a Liveable World and the Albert Einstein Peace Foundation and editor of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. The Bulletin printed the “doomsday clock,” a symbolic representation of how close the world was, in the magazine’s opinion, to nuclear war.”

He was especially proud, according to colleagues, to be on Richard Nixon’s “enemies list.”

—Courtesy of MIT

Recommended Reading

Remembering Bernie by Albert Wattenberg, Joseph Rotblat, Kosta Tsipis, and Bernard T. Feld (1993).

 Click here to view Supplemental Reading to Bernard Feld on Amazon.

Series Navigation<< Jean ElshtainHarvey Fineberg >>

Notable in UU History
Mary and Benjy Mann

Mann, Mary Tyler Peabody (1806-1887)

The wife of Horace Mann—and sister of Elizabeth Palmer Peabody and Sophia Peabody Hawthorne—was an educator ... Read More
http://www.wolfkiller.net/Links/mary1.jpg

Hemenway, Mary Porter Tileson (1820-1894)

The Life of Mary Porter Tileson Hemenway Mary Hemenway was born in New York of old ... Read More
Barbara Sicherman

Barbara Sicherman

Barbara Sicherman, is co-editor of a biographical dictionary—Notable American Women: The Modern Period—published by Harvard University ... Read More
Helen Vendler

Helen Vendler

In literary conversation, she is sometimes called “Dame Helen”—a nickname that can be affectionate or sarcastic, ... Read More