Neil Armstrong was suspected in connection with the Russians, Albert Einstein was sympathized with the communists, and Richard Feynman’s case is thicker than his autobiography.
In March , a compilation of documents by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States, Scientists Under Surveillance, was published by J. Brown, B.S.D. Lipton and M. Morishi. To date, he has already received a number of reviews and interviewswith compilers.
The book contains letters from informers, reports and reports of the FBI officers on the investigations conducted. All materials are united by the fact that they directly concern 16 scientists of the 20th century, who were under the scrutiny of the US federal services: Neil Armstrong, Isaac Azimov, Hans Bethe, John Craven, Albert Einstein, Pal Erdosh, Richard Feynman, Mikhail Kalashnikov, Alfred Kinsi, Thym Leary, William Masters, Arthur Rosenfeld, Vera Rubin, Carl Sagan and Nikola Tesla.
All documents are presented in their original form. On many you can see the notes made while reading. In some places, intelligence officers emphasized or circled important, in their opinion, information.
Michael Maurici, one of the creators of MuckRock , a non-profit organization that since 2010 has been helping people who want to make requests for documents under the Freedom of Information Act , has co- authored the 400-page compilation . MuckRock publishes the data on the site in the public domain. Readers of the collection, if desired, can find there even more information about the observation of American scientists, since only a small part of all the collected documents was included in the collection.
Despite the seriousness of the topic, a researcher from the London School of Economics and Political Science, in a review of the book, notes that many of the situations described in the documents “cause laughter and make you terrified at the same time.”
The documents show that any possible connection with the Communists, whether it is inaccurate information from the FBI letters or suspicious code names, became the object of investigation. For example, the writer Isaac Asimov at one time came under serious suspicion of collaboration with the Communists in the case of the Soviet informant under the code name RobProf. Azimov, on the other hand, wrote science fiction about robots and was a professor, which was quite enough to set up an observation on the informant case.
About physics and one of the founders of quantum electrodynamics Richard Feynman on MuckRock posted 360 pages of documents and investigations, only a small part of which was included in the collection “Scientists Under Surveillance”.
The book has a copy of a letter to John Edgar Hoover, who served as director of the FBI from 1924 to 1972. It states that Feynman is “communist or very close to communists”, and “although he is undoubtedly a genius, but he is cruel and not burdened with morality, ethical norms or religious beliefs.” The name of the author of the letter is hidden, like many other names from the documents in the book.
The reviews also write that the book contains documents that accuse Neil Armstrong, a space engineer and first man on the moon, in connection with the Soviet government, and Nobel Prize in Physics, Albert Einstein, of sympathy for the Communists and ties with them.
Even before the release, in 2018, the book was presented at the Cambridge Science Festival. On the website of the London School of Economics and Political Science in a review of the collection, parallels were drawn between the affairs of the 20th century and the modern world.
In fact, the modern reader will quickly find the connection between the “secret” history of the 20th century and modern life. The book clearly refers to the phrase “the past warns the future.” In our time, when hacking has become a new way to get into other people’s things in public view, and informers are constantly working out of public view, it has become much easier to observe. While we are before this even more powerless.Jochen Kootstra (Lochem Kootstra)Graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science
This is the second book by Brown, Lipton and Morishi. In the first, Writers under Surveillance , published in 2018, the authors collected cases from 16 authors of the 20th century, such as Ernest Hemingway, Hannah Arendt, Allen Ginsberg, and Susan Sontag.
At the end of 2019, it is planned to release the third book from the series – “Activists under Surveillance” ( “Activists under surveillance” ) . It will publish FBI documents on surveillance of political activists – Roger Baldwin, Martin Luther King and a dozen others.