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Oppenheimer's Lives

Reflections on the Father of the Atomic Bomb

by Jeremy Bernstein

J. Robert Oppenheimer was a puzzle to everyone. The nuclear physicist most responsible for the creation of the atomic bomb, he was a genius both scientifically and otherwise. His standards were impossibly high. He read widely in many languages, wrote poetry, and did superb science. Yet Oppenheimer was a man unsure of his identity and scarred by the now-famous Atomic Energy Commission hearing in which he lost his security clearance—one of the most spectacular attacks of the McCarthy era. Despite it, most everyone in the scientific community and in government agreed that without Oppenheimer’s totally remarkable leadership at Los Alamos, the atomic bomb would not have happened, and the Second World War would have ended very differently. In this compelling essay, Jeremy Bernstein, himself a physicist and once a colleague of Oppenheimer’s, remembers the man who was so difficult to decipher.

Oppenheimer's Lives details:

ISBN: 9781937853129

Words: 6,529

Pages: 14

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Tags:  Nuclear weapons - physics - centrifuges - uranium - politics and the military - Oppenheimer - atomic bomb