Co-sponsored by the History and Public Policy Project and the Department of Energy's Office of History and Heritage Resources, Office of Science, and National Nuclear Security Administration, the symposium began with a luncheon featuring a keynote address by The Honorable Spencer Abraham, Secretary of Energy. After discussing the far-reaching contribution the Department of Energy makes to scientific research that directly impacts national security, Secretary Abraham presented the Gold Award, the department's highest award to Dr. Lura J. Powell, Former Director, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Dr. C. Bruce Tarter, Director Emeritus, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Dr. William J. Madia, Former Director, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Dr. Charles V. Shank, Former Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Dr. John H. Marburger III, Former Director, Brookhaven National Laboratory; Dr. Hermann A. Grunder, Director, Argonne National Laboratory; Dr. Michael S. Witherell, Director, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; and Vice-Admiral Richard H. Truly (Ret.), Director, National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Bruce Tarter moderated the afternoon panel discussion, at which prominent physicists who worked closely with Edward Teller offered their perspectives on his life and work. John Foster described Teller's key role in establishing the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, emphasizing his sense of responsibility for ensuring that political leaders understood the scientific and technical issues involved in nuclear weapons. Hans Mark discussed Teller's role in conceiving of and developing the Strategic Defense Initiative, while Lowell Wood emphasized Teller's contribution to education and public affairs as well as to science. Steve Libby focused his remarks on Teller's scientific legacy, particularly the application of quantum mechanics and the development of thermonuclear weapons. The panel also presented a videotape of remarks by Hans Bethe, the 1967 Nobel Prize winner in Physics, and George Schultz, former Secretary of State, who offered tributes to Teller as, respectively, a brilliant scientist and a uniquely valuable contributor to US national security.