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German Goncharov on: Andrei Sakharov
Q: When you first met Andrei Sakharov, what was your impression?

GG: Could you define more precisely what you mean, what kind of impressions you have in mind, of his scientific side or him as a human being?

Q: As a person and as a scientist, I think both.

GG: OK, I understand. Well, the main, maybe, most important thing which I always felt while working in the Tamm-Sakharov group was the healthy moral climate created by them. The atmosphere of creative competition among the scientists, all participants in this work, demanded an objective evaluation of everyone's contribution and his role in the process, his proposals, his inventions, you know. Andrei Dmitrievich [Sakharov] and Igor Evgenievich [Tamm] exhibited scientific honesty, i.e., everyone could count on objective recognition of his work. There wasn't anything extraneous, any distortions, any subjective attitudes, you know, that someone was favored while someone else was not, or recognized while someone else was not. In general, everything was determined by one's real capacity for work, one's merits, one's contribution, an atmosphere of utmost fairness. And we strongly felt the loss of that when at first Igor Evgenievich [Tamm] went away and later Andrei Dmitrievich [Sakharov] left the site completely and people whose level was distinctly different became our supervisors, that is, the moral climate became dramatically worse.

But otherwise, of course, there has been so much written about Sakharov that it is hard to add anything... maybe, some essential points. I would only like to add that it would be incorrect--and Andrei Dmitrievich understood it very well--to attribute the whole contribution even during the first explorations to the names of Tamm, Sakharov, [Iakov] Zel'dovich, you know, [Iulii] Khariton. The role of young members was substantial already from the very beginning. And I would say that it has not been reflected to its full degree in the memoirs of Andrei Dmitrievich. One should not read those memoirs as the definitive history of the explorations, including the creation of hydrogen bomb, you know, even during that period. Many of the most important names are not even mentioned, such as Iurii Nikolaevich Babaev, one of the most outstanding ones, who later became a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences. Somehow it happened that he was not even mentioned in Sakharov's memoirs. We were struck by that. Maybe, because the publication of his memoirs took place after his death; maybe, he did not have time to elaborate on some things; i.e., maybe if he had had time to publish the memoirs during his lifetime, he would have added something. In sum, not everything is clear to me here.

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