Unedited version


Sakharov, Andrei (b. Moscow, U.S.S.R., 21 May 1921; d. Moscow, 14 December 1989), theoretical physics, thermonuclear design and engineering, cosmology, international security and human rights.


In the Family of Moscow Intelligentsia

A Theorist and Inventor

A Humanitarian Physicist

Free Thinking and Religious Feeling


Works by Sakharov

Other Sources



Devoted to fundamental physics, Andrei Sakharov spent two decades designing nuclear weapons before returning to academic research and producing his major scientific accomplishment: in 1966, by combining particle physics and cosmology he provided the first (and the only available so far) explanation of baryon asymmetry, the observed drastic disparity in the natural occurrence  of matter and antimatter in the universe. Just a few years later, basing on his second domain of professional knowledge—strategic weaponry—together with his understanding of the machinery of the Soviet leadership and his feeling of personal responsibility, this “father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb” developed into one of the leading human rights advocates in the Soviet Union. In 1975 he became the first Russian to win the Nobel Peace Prize.


In the Family of Moscow Intelligentsia

Andrei Sakharov was born in Moscow to a family of intelligentsia. His father, Dmitri, a son of a lawyer, taught physics and wrote popular science books. His mother, Ekaterina (nee Sofiano), a daughter of a czarist army officer, was a housewife. His generation was brought up under the confluence of post–Civil War hardships, lofty ideals of social progress, and real advancement of education and science in Soviet Russia. The Stalinist terror missed Andrei’s parents, and they tried to shield their child from harsh reality, in particular by affording him the opportunity for six years of home schooling. His father was his first teacher in science. But as to social realities, in Sakharov’s words: “My father was afraid that, if I knew too much about Soviet life, I wouldn’t be able to get on in this world. This hiding of thoughts from one’s son might best characterize the horror of Stalin’s era.”

On the eve of World War II, Sakharov entered Moscow University, and, with the period of study shortened by a year, graduated with honors in 1942, when the war was at its height. Having declined an offer to go to graduate school, he was assigned to work in a major munitions factory in Ul’yanovsk on the Volga River. A year later, in 1943, he married Klavdia Vikhireva, a laboratory technician who also worked at the factory. In 1945 their first child was born (two more followed in 1949 and 1957).


A Theorist and Inventor

In Ul’yanovsk, while busy with routine laboratory work, Sakharov authored a few engineering inventions, including  devices for testing quality of bullets. While implementing those inventions based on electromagnetic theory, he started thinking about problems of theoretical physics as such, and as the war was ending, Sakharov sought to do theoretical research in earnest. He returned to Moscow to become a graduate student at the Physical Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (FIAN). He mastered theoretical physics under the prominent theorist Igor Tamm (to be awarded the 1958 Nobel Prize for the theory of Vavilov-Cherenkov radiation), at a time when the theory of nuclear forces dominated Tamm’s research. The topic also provided the subject matter for Sakharov’s 1947 dissertation and a few other papers, including the pioneering idea of muon-catalyzed fusion.

This pure physics was put on hold in June 1948, when Tamm was commissioned to head an auxiliary group to explore whether a hydrogen bomb (aka H-bomb, or thermonuclear bomb) was feasible. This group was to assist the team of Yakov Zeldovich, then the main theorist of the Soviet nuclear project. Although the first priority was to create an atomic bomb, Zeldovich was also occupied with an H-bomb design. The original design was  initiated by espionage but lacked promise. In a few months Sakharov suggested a radically new design, named Sloyka (the Russian for a layered pastry). Another student of Tamm’s, Vitaly Ginzburg, added a second key idea of the efficient thermonuclear explosive (lithium deuteride, Li6D).

In spring 1950, Tamm and Sakharov were ordered to move to the “Installation,” a secret city in the central Volga region, to implement the Sloyka design. They succeeded, and the first Soviet thermonuclear bomb was tested on 12 August 1953.

Parallel to the bomb effort, in the early 1950s, Sakharov made two major inventions. Together with Tamm he proposed the principle of magnetic confinement of plasma for a controlled thermonuclear (fusion) reactor (the so-called Tokamak, acronym for the Russian phrase “Toroidal Chamber with Magnetic Coil”). Another invention was a way to obtain superstrong magnetic fields by implosion. Both inventions were initially related to weaponry. The thermonuclear reactor, as a powerful neutron generator, was expected to produce plenty of fissile explosive. However, the unforeseen problems of handling plasma made this promise impracticable, and since 1956, when the scientific director of the Soviet nuclear project Igor Kurchatov managed to declassify this research, it has been considered as a possibility for a peaceful, practically limitless source of energy.

In 1953, after Tamm returned to Moscow to resume academic work, Sakharov succeeded him at the Installation. Sakharov made the key contribution to the fully fledged H- bomb design (of virtually unlimited yield), tested in the U.S.S.R. in 1955, and in 1961 he headed the development of the most powerful bomb ever exploded on Earth (so-called Czar Bomb, 50 megatons).

In the early 1960s, still at the installation, Sakharov started his return to fundamental physics and in 1966 and 1967 put forward two highly innovative ideas. The first dealt with a strange cosmological asymmetry. For every kind of particle known in physics there is a kind of antiparticle, its exact opposite in charge and equal in mass. Since the laws of fundamental physics treat particles and antiparticles in exact symmetry, it would be natural to expect these two types of matter to be present in equal quantities. But it is an observational fact that ordinary matter is much more abundant in the universe than antimatter.

Trying to explain this peculiar asymmetry on the cosmological scale, Sakharov connected it to a deviation from symmetry in the submicroscopic world. The so-called CP violation (first proposed by Susumu Okubo in 1958) had indicated a subtle difference between certain kinds of particles and their antiparticles. Sakharov added a hypothesis that protons—commonly assumed to be stable particles—could spontaneously and superslowly decay, converting into other kinds of particles. This decay, combined with the CP violation, would result in an imbalance between matter and antimatter in the swiftly expanding, superdense plasma that made up the very early universe. If the hypothesis were correct, it would then account for the later-observed difference – baryon asymmetry. Experimental attempts to verify “proton decay” are continuing into the twenty-first century.

Sakharov’s second innovative idea attempted to explain gravity as originating from properties of the quantum vacuum. In the words of physicist John Archibald Wheeler, the gravity would be “an elasticity of space that arises from particle physics,” like ordinary elasticity that arises from the microphysics of atoms and molecules. It was a brand-new approach in the long  quest for unifying gravity with other fundamental forces and, at the same time, in the quest for quantum gravity. this double problem is still a central and exceptionally difficult task of fundamental physics.

Sakharov’s explanation of the observable baryon asymmetry opened up a new direction for research, sometimes called cosmomicrophysics, astroparticle physics, or particle astrophysics and cosmology—the combination of particle physics and cosmology. Behind Sakharov’s innovations there was a rare combination of talents: those of theorist and inventor.

His successful return to theoretical physics strengthened his self-confidence just on the eve of his breakthrough far beyond science.


A Humanitarian Physicist

By 1968, Sakharov’s accomplishments in superweaponry had earned him highest Soviet honors and perks (including membership in the Soviet Academy of Sciences, three Hero of Socialist Labor medals, huge Stalin and Lenin prizes, and a special villa). His theoretical ideas brought the respect of his colleagues, the pure theorists. And nothing in public domain portended that this semisecret scientist was about to become a public figure of world stature and—in seven years—a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Nevertheless Sakharov’s humanitarian storyline was tightly intertwined with his storyline as a scientist and expert in strategic high technology.

Most important in Sakharov’s background were Igor Tamm, his mentor in science and in life, and the milieu of Leonid Mandelshtam’s school at Moscow university and FIAN. Leonid Mandelshtam had become a scientist in Strasbourg, under Karl Ferdinand Braun, and returned to Russia on the eve of World War I. He made important contributions in optics and radiophysics, but his foremost contribution was his Russian school as the group of his disciples, including Tamm, which featured a union of high professionalism and high moral standing, an extraordinary accomplishment at any time, but especially during the years of Stalin’s reign.

Tamm’s  world-view in social life, as well as in science, greatly influenced Sakharov. Tamm was converted to socialism in his teens, before he entered university and well before he became a scientist. In 1912, 17-year-old Tamm wrote in his diary: “Science won’t satisfy me, personal happiness (in the gross sense—money, drinking bouts) to me are only self-deception; I won’t become a petty bourgeois. That leaves only revolution. But will it turn out to be totally engrossing? That’s the question…”

Early in 1917, Tamm, a member of a Social Democratic party of Menshevik-internationalists, was elected to the Elizavetgrad Soviet and tasted political life of post-czarist and pre-Bolshevik Russia. Then he “became convinced that Bolshevism in its mass form exists only as demagogic anarchism and unruliness. Of course, this doesn’t apply to its leaders, who are simply blind fanatics, dazzled by the genuinely big truth [of socialism] which they are defending, but which prevents them from seeing anything else besides it,” as he wrote in his diary.

The success of the Bolshevik coup in October 1917 didn’t prevent 22-year-old physics student from thinking independently: “The ‘Great Proletarian Revolution’  has taken place, but not only do I not feel any particular enthusiasm; on the contrary, I want to work less than before the ‘revolution.’ Something is beginning to boil up in me against the Bolsheviks . . . I came into contact with science, and it has attracted me again. Will I remain a politician after everything settles down? Now, at this point, it seems to me more than doubtful.”

“The genuinely big truth” of socialism was the goal of both the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. The difference was that for the Bolsheviks, this end justified any means, while Mensheviks were for the evolutionary development by means of parliamentary democracy and in collaboration with other parties. Despite Tamm’s personal losses during the Great Terror of 1937, when his brother, close friend, and beloved student had “disappeared,” he managed to defend the persecuted and to keep his allegiance to the socialist ideals of his youth.

It was thus under both Tamm’s influence and the media totally controlled by the soviet dictatorship, that Sakharov shared the official pro-socialist religion for so long. He felt himself securing peace for the country after a devastating war. “Having given so much to this cause and accomplished so much,” Sakharov “unwittingly created an illusory world to justify” himself, in his own harsh self-diagnosis.

It was not merely passive conformism. An ability to provide the Soviet leadership with nuclear weapons secured for physicists the greatest intellectual freedom available in the Soviet land and somewhat emboldened them socially—within the idealistically Soviet,  prosocialist mind-set. With such a mind-set Sakharov consciously and wholeheartedly developed thermonuclear weaponry: “I couldn’t ignore how horrible and inhuman our work was. But the world war that had just ended was also inhuman. I wasn’t a soldier in that war, but I felt like one in this scientific and technological war.” With the same mind-set he declined an invitation to join the Party but felt himself serving the same cause the Soviet leaders did, he mourned Stalin’s death but, together with other nuclear physicists, defended the true science in physics and in devastated biology.

He grew ashamed of his pop-Stalinism when Stalin’s crimes were exposed by the new Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, but his prosocialist ideals remained. With this idealistic mind-set, Sakharov was asked to write an article denouncing the new American military development of the so-called clean bomb. He took the matter more seriously than a mere propaganda exercise. Using available biological data, he calculated that the detonation of a one-megaton, “cleanest” H-bomb would produce enough radioactive carbon to result in 6,600 deaths worldwide over the next eight thousand years. “What moral and political conclusions can be drawn on the basis of the above figures?” he asked in his 1958 article. For him, the death toll from nuclear testing in the atmosphere—however small compared to other kinds of mortality—was a fact proved by science, with inescapable moral consequences. He considered this paper the start of his growing social awareness.

The next phase of his awareness came in 1961, when Khrushchev decided to revoke the three-year moratorium on nuclear tests. Sakharov was the only one who openly objected to the Soviet leader. He argued  that tests would yield little new technical information while threatening international security. But, obeying an order from the head of state, he took part in the development of the most powerful device ever exploded, on 30 October 1961 (the so-called Czar Bomb). Sakharov trusted Khrushchev too much because the Soviet leader had rehabilitated the victims of the Terror, allowed a general cultural “thaw,” and called for peaceful coexistence with the West.

Sakharov’s illusory world cracked in 1962, when he tried but failed to prevent another test, totally unnecessary from a technical point of view but producing deadly radioactive fallout—the Soviet “military-industrial complex” had defeated him. His feeling of moral responsibility spurred his effort toward the 1963 Test Ban Treaty, which banned all nuclear tests in the atmosphere. In Sakharov’s view, the treaty saved the lives of people who would have perished had such tests continued, and also reduced the risk of nuclear war.

Describing the evolution of his social worldview, Sakharov admitted that “it took years” for him “to understand how much substitution, deceit, and lack of correspondence with reality there was” in the Soviet ideals. “At first I thought, despite everything that I saw with my own eyes, that the Soviet state was a breakthrough into the future, a kind of prototype for all countries”. Then he came, in his words, to “the theory of symmetry: all governments and regimes to a first approximation are bad, all peoples are oppressed, and all are threatened by common dangers.”

It was at this stage, from 1967 to 1968, that the major change in Sakharov’s social worldview took place. It was the time when anti–ballistic missile (ABM) defense became a key issue in U.S.-Soviet relations. Despite the defensive purpose of the new weapons system, Sakharov came to the conclusion that the new kind of strategic arms race would undermine international security and make a world war more likely. He wrote a detailed secret memorandum for the Soviet leaders, advising them to accept a recent American proposal for a moratorium on strategic ABMs. To promote mutual understanding with the West, Sakharov also prepared a nontechnical article on the issue and suggested that its publication in the open press would help “foreign scientific and engineering intelligentsia to restrain their ‘hawks.’” But Soviet leaders rejected Sakharov’s advice and did not permit him to initiate a public discussion of the ABM problem in the Soviet press.

Growing aware of the Soviet hawks and the Soviet political machine, Sakharov decided to make his views public and wrote an essay titled “Thoughts on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom” (completed in May 1968). He stated his goal of an “open, sincere discussion” without pretending to be an “expert in social issues.” However he started with an issue in which he was a real expert: the threat of nuclear war as a result of the strategic ABM race. And his main conclusion was that “Peace, progress, human rights—these three goals are insolubly linked to one another: it is impossible to achieve one of these goals if the other two are ignored,” as he worded his humanitarian discovery seven years later in his Nobel Lecture. In the words of the Nobel Committee’s citation: “In a convincing manner Sakharov has emphasised that Man’s inviolable rights provide the only safe foundation for genuine and enduring international cooperation.”

The essay circulated in typewritten copies before being published by the Western media in July 1968. The secret father of the Soviet H-bomb emerged as an open advocate of peace and human rights. His background in the privileged scientific elite, privy to the regime’s top secrets, contributed to his public role.

Just after his humanitarian discovery, Sakharov was banned from all classified research. From then on he combined his work on pure physics with activity in the emerging human rights movement. In 1970 he cofounded the Moscow Human Rights Committee. In the movement he met Elena Bonner, who became his mate and comrade-in-arms; they married in 1972 (his first wife Klavdia had died of cancer in 1969).

As Sakharov’s public stature and international support grew, the regime put increasing pressure on him. In 1973 and 1974 the Soviet media campaign targeted both Andrei Sakharov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, another fearless voice in the Soviet empire. While Sakharov disagreed with Solzhenitsyn’s Slavophile vision of Russian revival, he deeply respected the author of The Gulag Archipelago. Only a few individuals in the Soviet Union dared to defend “traitors” like Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn, and those who had dared were inevitably punished.

It was time for Sakharov to realize that his political “theory of symmetry” required amendment, since there is not much

“symmetry between a cancer cell and a normal one. Yet our state is similar to a cancer cell—with its messianism and expansionism, its totalitarian suppression of dissent, the authoritarian structure of power, with a total absence of public control in the most important decisions in domestic and foreign policy, a closed society that does not inform its citizens of anything substantial, closed to the outside world, without freedom of travel or the exchange of information.”

It was time for Sakharov to compare his country to a “gigantic concentration camp” and to find the appropriate name for the system of government: “totalitarian socialism.”

In 1975 Sakharov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Soviet authorities did not allow him to travel to Norway to accept it personally, and he was represented by Elena Bonner (who happened then to be abroad for eye surgery).

After Sakharov’s public protest against the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, he was extrajudicially exiled to Gorki, a city closed to foreigners. He remained in exile for almost seven years, suffering from the isolation but continuing to promote human rights and international security. During his exile, Sakharov wrote a book of autobiographical memoirs. More than once the KGB stole Sakharov’s manuscript, and each time he rewrote his book anew.

Protesting against the persecution of himself, his wife Elena Bonner, and her children, Sakharov went on hunger strikes. For months he was totally isolated. Most of his friends in the human rights movement failed to appreciate the motivation for his hunger strikes and blamed Bonner for his sufferings. Sakharov was sorry to see such a gap in understanding but claimed his human right to make decisions that he felt to be morally necessary for him personally.

After the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had initiated the reforms of perestroika, Sakharov was allowed to return to Moscow. A leading figure in the Russian democratic movement, he became a member of the first really elected parliament. An advocate of constitutional democracy, he drafted a new constitution. He argued that only quicker and more radical reform could guarantee the peaceful evolution of the country. On 14 December 1989, after a difficult day of discussions in the Soviet parliament, he died of a heart attack.


Free Thinking and Religious Feeling

In 1985, while Sakharov was still in exile, the European Parliament established the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Indeed, it was his free thinking based on his professional knowledge and personal responsibility that urged him to connect the world of science with humanitarian politics.

The “father” of the Soviet H-bomb had a good reason to contemplate the lots of his counterparts on the other side of the Iron Curtain—the fathers of the American A- and H-bombs. He saw “striking parallels” between his stand and those of J. Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller. While in the view of most American academics the two were as diametrically opposed as good and evil, Sakharov believed that in this “tragic confrontation of two outstanding people,” both deserved respect, because “each of them was certain he had right on his side and was morally obligated to go to the end in the name of truth.”

Sakharov never felt that by creating nuclear weapons he had “known sin,” in Oppenheimer’s haunting expression. Nor did he persuade the Soviet government of the need for an H-bomb, as Teller did the American government. But as far as international security in the early 1950s went, Sakharov believed Teller was right. Sakharov had learned that for Soviet leaders “all steps by the Americans of a temporary or permanent rejection of developing thermonuclear weapons would have been seen either as a clever feint, or as the manifestation of stupidity. In both cases, the reaction would have been the same—avoid the trap and immediately take advantage of the enemy’s stupidity.”

So while Sakharov strongly disagreed with Teller over two major issues of “political physics,” which were the turning points in his own humanitarian career—nuclear testing in the atmosphere and strategic ABMs (or “Star Wars”), he believed that American academics had been unfair to Teller’s resolve to get the H-bomb for the United States.

Have Soviet and American nuclear scientists helped to keep the peace? Sakharov answered this way:

“After more than forty years, we have had no third world war, and the balance of nuclear terror ... may have helped to prevent one. But I am not at all sure of this; back then, in those long-gone years, the question didn’t even arise. What most troubles me now is the instability of the balance, the extreme peril of the current situation, the appalling waste of the arms race ... Each of us has a responsibility to think about this in global terms, with tolerance, trust, and candor, free from ideological dogmatism, parochial interests, or national egotism.”

September 1958. Twice Hero of Socialist Labor Academician Andrei Sakharov and thrice Hero of Socialist Labor Academician Igor Kurchatov, the scientific director of the Soviet nuclear project.
What moral and political conclusions must be drawn from these numbers?" Sakharov asked in his 1958 article on the danger of atmospheric nuclear testing.

In November, 1988, Andrei Sakharov, during his first visit abroad, received Einstein Peace Prize and met Edward Teller.
Strongly disagreeing with Teller over the major issues of nuclear testing and the strategic anti-ballistic defense, Sakharov, nevertheless, believed that American academics were unfair in their ostracizing Teller for his resolve to get the H-bomb for the United States.

Sakharov’s free thinking went well beyond science and above politics, and that might explain the connection of the two realms he made in the course of his life, as well as his free connection with the spiritual realm.

His  mother and grandmother were believers (and churchgoers), while his father was not. At the age of thirteen, Andrei decided that he, too, was a nonbeliever. However in his fifties he described his creed in his diary:
“For me all the religions are equal; I have no affinity to any of them. For me God is not the ruler of the world, not the creator of the world or its laws, but the guarantor of the meaning of existence—despite all the apparent meaninglessness.”

A decade later in his Memoirs he articulated the stance amazing most of his colleagues:
“I cannot imagine the Universe and human life without some meaningful element, without a source of spiritual ‘warmth,’ lying outside matter and its laws. Probably that feeling could be called religious.” 

Addressing an audience of French physicists and referring to a few centuries when “it seemed that religious thought and scientific thought contradicted each other” he expressed his belief that the apparent contradiction would have “a profound synthetic resolution in the next stage of the development of human consciousness.”

In no way did Sakharov consider himself a prophet or the like: “I am no volunteer priest of the idea, but simply a man with an unusual fate. I am against all kinds of self-immolation (for myself and for others, including the people closest to me).”

Most of the people closest to him were atheists: his father, his mentor in science and life Igor Tamm, both his wives, colleagues in physics and comrades in arms in human right movement. While in his - Soviet - time he advocated freedom of religion, he wrote that in a clerical state he would advocate atheists and heretics.

In defending the human rights of others, together with his own dignity, the humanitarian physicist relied, even if half-jokingly, on fundamental physics itself. In a letter written from his exile, he cheered up a fellow physicist and human rights activist with the words: “Fortunately, the future is unpredictable and also—because of quantum effects—uncertain.” For Sakharov the indeterminacy of the future held an importance far beyond quantum physics. It supported his belief that he could, and should, take personal responsibility for the future of humanity.



Works by Sakharov

Andrei Sakharov’s Nobel Lecture and other materials are available at the Nobel Foundation web site: http://nobelprize.org/peace/laureates/1975/.

Radioaktivnyi uglerod iadernykh vzryvov i neporogovye biologicheskie effekty.” Atomnaia energiia 4, no. 6 (1958): 576–580. English translation: “Radioactive Carbon from Nuclear Explosions and Nonthreshold Biological Effects.” Science & Global Security 1 (1990a): 175–187; also available at http://www.princeton.edu/%7Eglobsec/publications/pdf/1_3-4Sakharov.pdf. The first of Sakharovs writing involving moral and political issues. 

Thoughts on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom.” In “Text of Essay by Russian Nuclear Physicist Urging Soviet-American Cooperation.” New York Times, 22 July 1968; available at http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/nytimes/. Reproduced in: Progress, Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom. New York: Norton, 1968. Sakharovs first writing publicly manifesting his political dissent with the Soviet regime.

Collected Scientific Works. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1982.

Nauchnye trudy [Scientific works]. Moscow: Tsentrkom, 1995.

Vospominaniya. 2 vols. Moscow: Prava cheloveka, 1996. Available from http://orel.rsl.ru/nettext/russian/saharov/sach_fr/fr_sach1.htm. English: Memoirs. Translated by R. Lourie. New York: Knopf, 1990b; Moscow and Beyond, 1986 to 1989. Translated by A. Bouis. New York: Knopf, 1991.Lecture in Lyons: Science and Freedom.” Translated by M. Yankelevich. Physics Today 52, no. 7 (July 1999): 22–24. One of the last public talks given at a session of the Société Française de Physique in Lyons, France, 27 September 1989.


Other Sources

Altshuler, B. L., et al., eds. On mezhdu nami zhil. Vospominaniya o Sakharove. Moscow: Praktika, 1996. Andrei Sakharov: Facets of a Life. Gif-sur-Yvette, France: Editions Frontières, 1991. Recollections of friends and colleagues.

American Institute of Physics. “Andrei SAKHAROV: Soviet Physics, Nuclear Weapons, and Human Rights.” Web exhibit at the American Institute of Physics, Center for History of Physics. Available from http://www.aip.org/history/sakharov/.

Drell, S. D., and S. P. Kapitza, eds. Sakharov Remembered: A Tribute by Friends and Colleagues. New York: American Institute of Physics, 1991.

Ginzburg, Vitaly. The Physics of a Lifetime: Reflections on the Problems and Personalities of 20th Century Physics. Berlin: Springer, 2001.

Ginzburg, Vitaly.  About Science, Myself and Others. Bristol: IOP Publishing, 2004. Both of Ginzburg’s books are recollections of a prominent theoretical physicist, close colleague of A. Sakharov, and cofather of the Soviet H-bomb.

Gorelik, Gennady. “The Metamorphosis of Andrei Sakharov.” Scientific American 280 (March 1999): 98–101. An explanation of Sakharovs transformation into public and political figure.

Gorelik, Gennady. Andrei SAKHAROV: Photo-Chronology

Gorelik, Gennady.  Stirrings of Religion in the Soviet H-bomb Lab // Center for History of Physics Newsletter, AIP, Spring 2003

Gorelik, Gennady [Andrei Sakharov: Science and Freedom] 3rd ed.,   Moscow,  2010. Engl. transl.: Gorelik, Gennady, with Antonina W. Bouis. The World of Andrei Sakharov: A Russian Physicist’s Path to Freedom.New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. The first authoritative study of Andrei Sakharov as scientist as well as public figure; relies on previously inaccessible documents, archives declassified in the 1990s or later, and personal accounts by Sakharov’s friends and colleagues.Gorelik, Gennady. Andrei Sakharov // New dictionary of scientific biography / Noretta Koertge, ed. Detroit : Charles Scribner's Sons/Thomson Gale, 2008.

Gorelik, Gennady.  The Paternity of the H-Bombs: Soviet-American Perspectives // Physics in Perspective, June, 2009, p. 169-197