BBC program with Edward Teller, 1971

This was a "debate" or discussion with Edward Teller, the "father of the H-bomb,." which was recorded and broadcast by the BBC in September 1971. I (David) was aware of this over the years but did not know more about it.

In late May 2021, just a month after Michael died, I was trying to learn more, and ran across the BBC Genome Project which is an effort to document everything ever (?) broadcast on the BBC, and to provide a searchable archive for recordings and films/videos. I actually found what I believe is the specific program, from September 1971. This program was called "Controversy: The Peaceful Use of Nuclear Explosives" and featured Edward Teller. As you can see from the link (or this screen capture), there is no mention of other guests on the program.

However, I present an unusual piece of documentation to support the idea that Michael was on this program.

In the second half of 1971, Michael had a sabbatical at Imperial College, London, for which the entire family accompanied him. I (David) was in second grade (age 7) at the time. Upon returning to St. Louis in mid-January 1972, I commenced to write up a memoir of the entire trip, an 80 page (little kid pages with wide lines) journal, with postcards to spur my memory.

In four sentences on page 20 of my journal, I wrote about going to the BBC broadcasting building when Michael was going to be on "tely" [sic], where the main speaker was "Teller". The dates are correct, too, in September 1971 (although my listed date differs from the BBC archive by a week).

Due to Michael's involvement with CNI, it is not at all a surprise that he would have contested Teller's contention that peaceful uses of nuclear explosives (essentially as civil engineering), were safe and desirable.

A producer for the BBC Genome project did reply two weeks later to my email looking for assistance, writing, "I can confirm however that unfortunately this programme does not exist in the BBC Archives, like many programmes from that era."

I have also found references to it in the OAC (Online Archive of California)'s "Register of the Edward Teller Papers" at the Hoover Instutution at Stanford University. Specifically, the reference was to: box 465, folder 12: BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) 1971-1972 and farther down on the same page (in the section marked "Video tapes undated" to "box 614, folder 8: "Controversy #5 Nuclear Explosives," BBC video tape undated." This is worth further investigation! David journal
page 20 of David's journal of family sabbatical