Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, April 21, 2008

Myths About Nuclear Energy and Global Warming

Myths About Nuclear Energy and Global Warming
Instead of hearing about global warming from the media, why not hear about it from a scientist who worked with Dr.Teller and his group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Detailed Biography of Dr. Bill Wattenburg


Background Report and

Major Public Service Contributions by

Dr. Willard Harvey (Bill) Wattenburg

Research Scientist, Research Foundation

California State University, Chico,

and Consultant to the

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Very few scientists in the U.S have contributed more to public service and national security than W.H. (Bill) Wattenburg has done in the form of simple, sometimes bizarre, but very workable solutions to major national security and public problems. He was raised on a farm and construction job sites in northern California. He studied at the University of California, Berkeley, under some of the great physicists of the day, including Dr. Glen Seaborg and Dr. Edward Teller. He was one of the youngest ever appointed to the Berkeley faculty after finishing his Ph.D at Berkeley. He became a lifelong colleague and friend to Dr. Teller. He worked in Dr. Teller’s group at the U.C. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the design and testing of nuclear weapons. At Livermore, he made a discovery of great importance to the underground testing of nuclear weapons and test ban treaty verification. For thirty years, he has had a second profession as one the most popular and controversial nighttime radio talk show hosts in the western United States. His weekly six-hour broadcasts reach millions in eleven western states.

Bill Wattenburg’s work in several fields and his publications in scientific journals are listed below. But the public and press know him best for his impressive and often bizarre solutions to highly publicized problems in our society. He typically does basic experiments on his own to prove that his ideas are feasible before he presents them to government agencies and the press. (He actually build a section of a four-lane freeway bridge out of surplus railroad flatcars using construction equipment to prove that freeways could be repaired very quickly after earthquakes. The California Dept. of Transportation adopted his design to open major freeways thereafter.) His public demonstrations often irritate bureaucracies that are left with no excuse to ignore his ideas when the public and the press already know that they are workable. In turn, he has demonstrated a profound impatience with slow-moving government agencies.

Typically, government agencies had failed to solve major problems after spending enormous sums of money and time before Wattenburg was asked to step in by top state and federal officials. His clever creations have saved many thousands of lives and untold amounts of public resources. Dozens of scientific journal articles and major newspaper stories have chronicled his exploits and accomplishments over the past thirty years.

Bill Wattenburg grew up on farms and worked with his father in the heavy construction industry before he was given a scholarship to U.C. Berkeley. He was appointed to the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, at the completion of his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and nuclear physics at the age of 25. He specialized in the design of digital computers for computations in nuclear physics. He took a leave of absence from Berkeley in 1962 to join the physics division at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the nuclear weapons “A Division,” where he worked on the initial designs of some of the nuclear weapons in the U.S. inventory today. He spent a year at the Nevada Test Site where he tested the warhead designs on which he had worked. There he helped develop and improve underground nuclear testing technology. He continued working at Livermore part-time after he returned to teaching at Berkeley in 1964. He has continued as an unpaid consultant to the Livermore Laboratory since 1975. In turn, the Livermore Laboratory has provided equipment and resources for many of Wattenburg’s scientific experiments described herein. Bill Wattenburg was the co-founder in 1966 (along with Nobel Prize winning physicist Dr. Donald Glaser) of Berkeley Scientific Laboratories. Wattenburg was the president of Berkeley Scientific Laboratories from 1966 to 1970 when he returned to university teaching and research.

It is significant that since he left the faculty at U.C. Berkeley thirty years ago, Bill Wattenburg has never taken pay of any sort from government agencies for his public service activities. He has assigned his most significant patents to the university. His often stated position is that the public gave him a free education at two great universities, California State University, Chico, and the University of California, Berkeley. He has said that he can well afford to return a little of the good fortune that the public provided to him.

He does most of his work today as a research scientist at the Research Foundation, California State University, Chico, and as an unpaid consultant for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Many times over the last 25 years he has teamed up with top scientists and engineers at the Livermore Laboratory to test and develop his solutions to national security problems. Dr. Wattenburg is still one of the most active scientists conducting experiments at the former Nevada Nuclear Test Site.

1 comment:

Bruce Heimbigner said...

Bill is really an amazing guy. I’ve listened to his radio show for many years. Besides the items mentioned. He is buddies with Clint Eastwood and been in a couple of Clint’s movies. He grew up with a logger Dad and loves to drive big rigs and works the line on forest fires every year. Sometimes he takes calls from brilliant 9 year olds (and not so brilliant college students) and helps them with their homework, other times he devotes an entire show to silly jokes or mind numbing word puzzles. The http://www.pushback.com/ site is a resource for his ideas and politics.