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Leo Szilard

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All we had to do was lean back, turn a switch and watch a screen of a television tube. If flashes of light appeared on the screen it would mean that liberation of atomic energy would take place in our lifetime. We turned the switch, saw the flashes — we watched for about five minutes — then switched everything off and went home. That night I knew the world was headed for trouble.
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On the experiment at University of Chicago which indicated a nuclear chain reaction was possible, as quoted in "Some Szilardisms on War, Fame, Peace", LIFE? magazine, Vol. 51, no. 9 (1 September 1961), p. 79
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We turned the switch, we saw the flashes, we watched them for about ten minutes — and then we switched everything off and went home. That night I knew the world was headed for sorrow...
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As quoted in the Boston University Graduate Journal (1968)

 
Leo Szilard

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We turned the switch, saw the flashes, watched for ten minutes, then switched everything off and went home. That night I knew the world was headed for sorrow.

 
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The television screen, so unlike the movie screen, sharply reduced human beings, revealed them as small, trivial, flat, in two banal dimensions, drained of color. Wasn’t there something reassuring about it! — that human beings were in fact merely images of a kind registered in one another’s eyes and brains, phenomena composed of microscopic flickering dots like atoms. They were atoms — nothing more. A quick switch of the dial and they disappeared and who could lament the loss?

 
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I have turned roles down because they are rapists. It's something I don't even want to watch. If I even click on it on TV, I have to click it off or I'll put my foot through the screen... What you see on that screen is just my terror at having to do that scene.

 
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Turning away from the computer I saw through my own narrow window (at least it opened) the green, the blue, the flashes. I looked to the clock, the screen, the window. An hour passed, then two. I looked again at the clock and saw it had been only twenty minutes. I willed the second-hand, the minute-hand, the hour-hand to move faster, to deliver me to five o'clock when I would be released as from my prison term. Then suddenly I stopped, struck by the absurdity of wishing away the only thing I've got. Eight hours, eighty years, it was all too similar. Would I wish away the years until the day of my retirement, until my time was once again my own? At work I tried to keep busy to make the hours pass quickly. It was no different when watching television, socializing, moving frenetically--there are so many ways to kill time.

 
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A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.

 
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