Nuclear Physicist Sam Cohen

Nuclear physicist Sam Cohen died Sunday at age 89, the Washington Post reported in an obituary today. Cohen, a veteran of the Manhattan Project, conceived, designed and advocated development of the neutron bomb, a high-radiation anti-personnel weapon.

He cordially despised the Federation of American Scientists, which didn’t stop him from writing and calling us regularly to discuss his bodily ailments, the history of nuclear weapons, classification policy, and whether or not former Secretary of Energy Hazel O’Leary was the devil’s spawn.

In 2000, Sam Cohen authored and self-published a book called “Shame.” It is an almost unbearably candid memoir of the author’s abusive childhood, which left him deeply scarred, and a description of how his views of nuclear weapons emerged as a result.  It is a neglected classic.  We reviewed it here.  Rest in peace.

No Responses to “Nuclear Physicist Sam Cohen”

  1. F. Herrick December 1, 2010 at 2:49 PM #

    Anyone want to read his book? The public library in Benica, California owns a copy, so any library should be able to borrow it for you through Inter-library loan.

  2. Robert Olcott December 2, 2010 at 5:14 PM #

    Thank You for the note and relevance of Sam Cohen’s Abusive Childhood. His book Shame could complement Susan Lawrence (M.D.)’s book: “Creating a Healing Society: …” in which she cites the decade long Center for Disease Control/Kaiser-Permanente ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study, which was “peer-reviewed” in 2002 in Texas, and published this year in the May issue of Preventing Chronic Disease journal. I can’t recall the Name of the (US) Judge who wrote a Law Review article noting we (the US) is the only “industrial democracy” on earth that does not include children’s Rights in our National Constitution.

  3. Conrad Schneiker December 3, 2010 at 1:18 AM #

    You can get the latest revision of Sam’s book online for free:

    This third edition (2006) supersedes the previously printed first edition (2000). It incorporates a new overview and postscript chapter by Charles Platt called “The Profits of Fear”. The third addition also has a much more provocative new title: “ ‘[Expletive Deleted] You, Mr. President’: Confessions of the Father of the Neutron Bomb” (inspired by Sam’s outrage concerning the rampant dishonesty of the then-current office holder, among other things).

    PS: I can personally attest that Sam had a high regard for Steven Aftergood, despite their differing perspectives.