Klaus Fuchs

Klaus Fuchs

Russelsheim, Landkreis Groß-Gerau, Hessen, Germany
Death 28 Jan 1988 (aged 76)
Berlin, Germany
Burial Friedrichsfelde, Lichtenberg, Berlin, Germany
Memorial ID 13283684 · View Source
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Nuclear Physicist and Soviet Spy. Son of a Lutheran pastor, he became politically involved as a mathematics and physics student at the University of Leipzig, first joining the Social Democratic Party's student arm, and was also a part of their paramilitary arm where he often disrupted Nazi party functions and was involved in street battles with them. He transferred to the University of Kiel when his father became a professor there. He was expelled from the Social Democrats in 1932 when he would not join the party in Supporting Hindenburg as a candidate, preferring Ernst Thälmann, the Communist candidate, which party he joined later that year. He tried to transfer to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin, but decided to go into exile after the Reichstag Fire of 1933. He moved to England where he studied at the University of Bristol, earning his Ph.D. in 1937. He then worked as a research assistant under Max Born at the University of Edinburgh, receiving a D.Sc. degree. When war broke out, he was interned in Canada as an enemy alien. He was released at the end of 1940 and returned to England, again to work under Born. He was tapped by Rudolf Peierls to work on the British atomic bomb program in 1941, and began sending information on the program to the Soviets shortly thereafter. He went with Peierls in 1943 to Columbia University in New York to work on the Manhattan Project, and moved to Los Alamos in 1944 to work under Hans Bethe. His main area of work was on the plutonium bomb. and Bethe considered him one of his most important colleagues. His theoretical work, including the Fuchs-Nordheim method, is still in use. He remained at Los Alamos until 1946, when he returned to England, becoming the head of the Theoretical Physics Division at Harwell. He continued to give the Soviets information, in particular on the development of the hydrogen bomb, which he was working on. He was suspected of spying as early as September 1949, and confessed in January 1950, for which he received a 14-year prison sentence and was stripped of his British citizenship. Released in June 1959, he went to East Germany, where he was elected to the Communist Party Central Committee as well as the East German Academy of Sciences. He was named the director of the Institute for Nuclear Research, where he worked until his retirement in 1979, and was awarded the Order of Karl Marx and the National Prize of East Germany.

Bio by: Kenneth Gilbert

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: GravesScribe
  • Added: 10 Feb 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 13283684
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Klaus Fuchs (29 Dec 1911–28 Jan 1988), Find a Grave Memorial no. 13283684, citing Zentralfriedhof Friedrichsfelde, Friedrichsfelde, Lichtenberg, Berlin, Germany ; Maintained by Find A Grave .