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 Klaus Fuchs

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Klaus Fuchs

Birth
Rüsselsheim am Main, 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, Convicted Soviet Spy. Klaus Fuchs was recognized as a brilliant nuclear physicist working on the Manhattan Project to develop a nuclear bomb for the American government during World War II and later the British government, but also received world-wide recognition as a spy for the USSR, trading classified documents and being convicted of this crime. Son of a German 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. He was expelled from the Social Democrats in 1932 when he would not join the party in supporting Paul von Hindenburg as a presidential candidate, preferring Ernst Thälmann, the Communist candidate. He joined the German Communist Party in 1930. He tried to transfer to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin, but decided to go into exile after the Reichstag Fire on the German Parliament of February of 1933. He moved to England where he studied at the University of Bristol, earning his Ph.D. in 1937. He accepted a position as a research assistant under Max Born at the University of Edinburgh, receiving a Doctorate of Science Degree. At the break of World War II, he was interned in Canada as an enemy alien. He was released at the end of 1940 and returned to England, again to assist 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 and Peierls traveled in 1943 to Columbia University in New York to be a part of the Manhattan Project, and transferring to Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1944, as part of Hans Bethe’s team. His main area of research was on the plutonium bomb with 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 University. He continued to give the Soviets classified information, in particular on the development of the hydrogen bomb, which he was researching. He was suspected of spying as early as September of 1949, and confessed in January of 1950, for which he received a 14-year prison sentence and was stripped of his British citizenship. Released in June of 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 (www.findagrave.com/memorial/13283684/klaus-fuchs : accessed ), memorial page for Klaus Fuchs (29 Dec 1911–28 Jan 1988), Find a Grave Memorial ID 13283684, citing Zentralfriedhof Friedrichsfelde, Friedrichsfelde, Lichtenberg, Berlin, Germany ; Maintained by Find A Grave .