Leo Szilard’s Legacy: Science in the Public Interest | Exhibit

Albert Einstein (left) and Leo Szilard (right) drafting the letter to President Roosevelt that prompted the Manhattan Project.
Nov 2, 2023–Dec 9, 2023
All Day

Leo Szilard (1898-1964) was a scientist best known for his pioneering work in nuclear physics, his participation in the Manhattan Project during World War II, and his opposition to the nuclear arms race in the postwar era. He was among the first to envision the nuclear chain reactions for energy and weapons, and his broadened research redefined basic concepts in molecular biology. Szilard drafted the letter Albert Einstein sent to President Franklin Roosevelt that prompted the Manhattan Project, led fellow scientists who opposed dropping atomic bombs on Japan, and created arms-control groups that continue to thrive. A selection of original materials from Szilard’s archive, held by the Library’s Special Collections & Archives, illustrates Szilard’s life in science and public policy.