Garwin is the first film to profile renowned physicist and inventor Richard Garwin, who helped shape history as designer of the first hydrogen bomb and later as a top science adviser on nuclear arms control and other issues.
In verite style, the documentary delves into the rich and controversial life and career of 85 year-old Garwin, offering personal insights into his thinking and actions. The film follows backpack-toting Garwin as he revisits the Los Alamos National Laboratory, attends a conference in Europe, travels to the White House, and meets with politicians, other scientists, and historians.
Garwin received his Ph.D. under Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi, who later invited him to work at Los Alamos on the nation’s nuclear weapons program. Fermi called Garwin "the only true genius he ever met". Garwin authored the final design used for the hydrogen bomb at age 23, assigned to the task by Edward Teller.
He later worked for IBM at its research center, while also serving as top science adviser to every president from Eisenhower to Obama on nuclear policy and many other technical issues. In recent years he was part of an elite group of scientists asked to help plug the BP oil spill and find solutions to contain the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. His work was honored with the National Medal of Science.
While exploring Garwin's life and work, the film offers a rare look into the world of science and policy, notably the role of scientists like Garwin who regularly advise our leaders on solutions to the most critical issues of our time, from nuclear proliferation and disarmament, to climate change and energy.
Reviews & AwardsREVIEWS
“Garwin is arguably the most important individual defense consultant of the past half-century. The film clips certainly put us in mind of the dramatic national events in which Garwin was an active participant—supplying a steady supply of calm and informed advice to presidents from Eisenhower onward—and not just as a passive witness.”
“A unique film, showing science as it really is, not a high-faluting speculation but a construction project, constantly struggling to get the details right, Garwin's passion is technical accuracy. His mission is to use technical facts to demolish political illusions. The film shows how one guy with a backpack can beat an army of bureaucrats with brief cases, if the guy's name happens to be Garwin."
–Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton; Enrico Fermi Award honoree
“Garwin is an excellent introduction to the life and scientific accomplishments of one of America’s treasures. The film artfully captures the essence of the man I have known for over 30 years and made me realize how little I know of his extraordinary scientific accomplishments.”
–Michael Gregg, Professor Emeritus, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington
"Garwin shows how a brilliant, but seemingly ordinary looking man, has accomplished extraordinary things. This film is worth seeing for the powerful and nuanced message it conveys about what one person can achieve and for inspiring the next generation to devote their skills to make the world a safer and more secure place to live.”
–Charles D. Ferguson, President, Federation of American Scientists
“Captures the achievements and personality of a physicist of exceptional skill who was deeply involved in historical decisions about atomic weapons and the cold war. It takes the viewer into an insider’s world of science and policy.”
–Prof. Alan Middleton, Chair, Department of Physics, Syracuse University
"Recommended. Chronicles the life and work of physicist Dr. Richard Garwin. The film spans his involvement with the hydrogen bomb, the JASON advisory group, the Vietnam War and in advising abroad."
– Educational Media Reviews Online