September 9 in freethought history…

sparrowSeptember 9, 1996 – Mary Doria Russell’s first book The Sparrow, a science fiction novel about a disastrous Jesuit mission of first contact with aliens, is published. The novel was a bestseller that sparked intense controversy due to its theological content and became a staple of book clubs worldwide. The Sparrow won numerous awards. Its sequel Children of God was also well-received.

September 9, 2003 – Theoretical physicist and “Father of the Hydrogen Bomb” Edward Teller dies in California, aged 95. Born to a Jewish family in Hungary in 1908, Teller (an agnostic) was educated in Europe and eventually came to the United States in 1935. He participated in the Manhattan Project during World War II. Aftter the war, in contrast to many of his colleagues, who spoke out against the development of nuclear weapons, Teller advocated for the development of the so-called hydrogen bomb (a fusion weapon far more powerful than the fission bombs used on Japan), and for a strong nuclear arsenal during the Cold War. In 1957 he was one of the first prominent scientists to warn against the danger of global warming due to overuse of fossil fuels.

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