In the summer of 1939Albert Einstein was on holiday in a small resort town on the tip ofLong Island. His peaceful summer, however, was about to be shattered bya visit from an old friend and colleague from his years in Berlin. Thevisitor was the physicist Leo Szilard. He had come to tell Einsteinthat he feared the Nazis could soon be in possession of a terrible newweapon and that something had to be done.
Szilard believed thatrecent scientific breakthroughs meant it was now possible to convertmass into energy. And that this could be used to make a bomb. If thiswere to happen, it would be a terrible realisation of the law of natureEinstein had discovered some 34 years earlier.