The world joins our nation in gnashing of teeth, self mutilation, suicides and mutual flagellation in mourning one of mankind’s treasures, Dr Samuel Cohen the inventor of the neutron bomb. The beloved scientist and humanitarian passed away from a stomach cancer at the age of 84 while visiting his long time friend, Dr Oral Pavlov. We have asked our military affairs and fashion editor, Dr Herman Kahn, Jr for his insights on this beloved figure.
The death of Dr Cohen has touched me deeply for he was a friend of my father and I have know him since childhood. He was a frequent house guest at our home in Los Alamos where he and my father developed nuclear devices along with Eddie Teller and that commie Oppenheimer.
Dr Teller, Dr Kahn, and Dr Cohen formed a tight group and nicked- named each other, Eddie, Hermie and Sammie. Sammie was the “chairman of the board” and they called themselves the “Radioactive Enhancement Package” or “Rat Pack” for short. I had the delight to witness their antics and horseplay first hand at my father’s dinner parties. In, fact, the idea of the neutron bomb came from one of these fun evening. My father had just finished a joke about the blast effects from a 450 megaton “super’ and as the laughter subsided there was a dull thud. We turned to look at the family’s pet, a parakeet named Sunny, who now lay on the bottom of the cage with her feet up, dead as a door knocker. A silence overcame the group and it was Dr Cohen who broke the ice with his brilliant quip, “Looks like a little too much background emissions here, Hermie”. After the hilarity cased Dr Cohen shouted, “that’s it! Why not a device that just kills living things and leaves the cages intact?” It was this wonderful evening that fathered the idea of the neutron bomb.
My fondest memories, however, was Dr Cohen reading me a bedtime story. As a youngster i would have a tantrum when bedtime was announced but Dr Teller would soothe my nerves with a special kiddie cocktail while Dr Cohen would carry my suddenly exhausted body to bed where he would tell me a special bedtime story.He was quite creative and the story of the three bears and the spontaneous emissions would make a great children’s book,
Amerika will miss this great man but his legacy lives on with the dedicated scientists who have devoted their lives in designing even more powerful nuclear devices to defend freedom and democracy. I remains, Dr Herman Kahn, Jr.