Ultimate Weapon:

The H-Bomb Dilemma


About the film

Ultimate Weapon: The H-Bomb Dilemma explores the secret late-1940s/early-1950s debate over whether to build the H-bomb. In the wake of the destructive power unleashed by the atomic bomb, nuclear physicists found themselves in an agonizing moral quandary over whether or not they should continue their research and create the more destructive hydrogen bomb. Over 30 individuals recount the moral struggle faced by the scientific community: the desire for scientific advancement compared to the dangerous weapon that would be a direct result of their research.

The program features declassified information from the Los Alamos archives, information obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, private archival collections and film from 44 rolls of newly declassified government H-bomb footage.

An independent film supported with grants from the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


Meet the Directors

PETER GALISON is a Pellegrino University Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University. In 1997, he was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; won a 1998 Pfizer Award for Image and Logic as the best book that year in the History of Science; and in 1999 received the Max Planck and Humboldt Stiftung Prize. His books include How Experiments End (1987), Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps (2003), and Objectivity (with L. Daston, 2007) and he has worked extensively with de-classified material in his studies of physics in the Cold War.

Galison's other films, Secrecy (2008) and Containment (2015), both with Robb Moss, continue the exploration of the fallout of the nuclear era. He is currently working on a new film about black holes. Galison’s work also features artistic collaborations, including partnering with South African artist William Kentridge on a multi-screen installation, “The Refusal of Time.”

For more info, visit his website.

PAMELA HOGAN is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker and media executive. Her film Looks Like Laury Sounds Like Laury - about the mother of two young children confronting a neurological breakdown – was named one of “The Best TV Shows of 2015” by The New York Times. She was Co-creator, with Abigail Disney and Gini Reticker, of the groundbreaking series Women, War & Peace and directed one episode, I Came to Testify, about the Bosnian women who changed international law by testifying about wartime rape for the first time in history. Seen by 12 million PBS viewers, the series won the Overseas Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Documentary and a Television Academy Honor for using television to promote social change, and Hogan's I Came to Testify won the ABA’s Silver Gavel for excellence in fostering understanding of law. Previously, Pamela was Executive Producer of PBS’s acclaimed series Wide Angle, working closely with global filmmakers on 70 documentaries spotlighting under-reported international stories.

Her speaking engagements include the White House, the U.S. Institute of Peace, Capitol Hill, the Asia Society, the U.N., the Council on Foreign Relations, and Harvard and UC Berkeley Law Schools. A Board Member of the International Center for Transitional Justice and 2012 honoree of the National Council for Research on Women’s Making a Difference for Women campaign, she is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is currently making a documentary about the women of Iceland.

For more information, visit her website.


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