I can now update that post with some amusing material about how eccentric he was:
Leo’s plan was to study engineering at the prestigious Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin, but engineering proved boring—“the routine application of established knowledge,” in his appraisal. At Willhelm, he attended lectures by Nobel physicist Max Planck, who sparked his interest in theoretical physics, and befriended Albert Einstein by walking him home from school. But even with Einstein’s guidance, Leo struggled to secure a job in his chosen discipline: undoubtedly brilliant, he was also, in the words of his friend Eugene Wigner, “an ass in some respects,” bored by teaching and lab work, distracted by his own quixotic ideas. Tellingly, he put the word “job” in scare quotes. By the end of the decade, he was broke, and Berlin was in crisis. On January 30th, 1933, Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany. A few months later, once Einstein secured him a last-ditch fellowship, Leo moved to London.You can read the article further for the conflict between Graves and Leo, but I'll skip to this paragraph about his rather unsettled life:
It was in London, on a street corner in Imperial Park, that Leo had an epiphany, motivated, characteristically, by irritation. He had just read an editorial by Ernest Rutherford declaring the Wellsian dream of atomic power a theoretical impossibility. It occurred to Leo that a nuclear chain reaction could be precipitated by the neutrons, then a recent discovery, in a “critical mass” of uranium. Vindicated, Leo filed his first patent. Five years later, he fled Nazi-occupied Europe for the United States.
In 1942, under the auspices of Roosevelt, Leo began work as Chief Physicist at the University of Chicago’s Metallurgical Lab, where the Manhattan Project was first conceived. He collaborated with Enrico Fermi to create Chicago-1, the world’s first nuclear reactor, partially devised from Leo’s 1934 patent. Unsurprisingly, Leo was a frustrating colleague from the very beginning—a “peculiar man,” in the words of Fermi, with too many ideas and too few social graces, who “seemed to enjoy startling people.” Chiefly, he enjoyed startling “brass hats,” or the bureaucrats and government officials with whom he would be in conflict for most of his adult life.
As the Manhattan Project continued, the Met Lab came under the control of Lieutenant General Leslie R. Groves, the director of the Army Corps of Engineers and Leo’s eventual nemesis in life and death. Groves was a career soldier with a puny mustache, a pugilistic face, and a hearty American distrust of intellectuals; Leo was a Hungarian with a heavy accent, a jocular contempt for military authority, and an ecstatic, evangelizing confidence in his own ideas. The two were instant enemies, bound by a beautifully counterpoised hatred.
During the war, Leo never described himself as socialist or, for that matter, as a Jew. Instead, in a famous quip, he described himself as a Martian. Alien or not, he had always been a moony annoyance, bidden by odd, insistent habits. He didn’t marry until 1951, when he was fifty-three years old, and courted his wife, Trude, by mail over a period of decades—aware, perhaps, that he charmed in prose but chafed in person. Mostly left to his own devices, he seldom bothered with anything so terrestrial as labwork, or laundry, or living in houses. He felt most at home in hotel rooms, roosting anywhere with room service. Leo lived precariously, portably, with everything he owned—clothes, books, papers, patents—slopped into suitcases. His first real permanent address in America was in La Jolla, where he retired and where, in 1964, he died.But here's the real reason I felt compelled to post further about him. The article I'm quoting from deals with a book of science fiction stories Szilard wrote in the early 1960's. Remembering that he had tried to persuade the US government to delay using the atomic bomb, the title story from his book is described thus:
...“The Voice of the Dolphins” takes place in the near future, and follows a cabal of messianic dolphins who take over the Vatican. Possessed of a frighteningly superior intelligence, the dolphins also demonstrate a preternatural understanding of nuclear warheads. To everyone’s relief, they crave only peace. They start a radio show, on which they predict the U.S.-Soviet nuclear crisis of the 1980s. They also resolve it, through a series of byzantine policy proposals. Then, under mysterious circumstances, they die, evoking either a political assassination or the death of Christ.!!