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J. Robert Oppenheimer is one of the iconic figures of the twentieth century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb for his country in a time of war, and who later found himself confronting the moral consequences of scientific progress. In this magisterial, acclaimed biography twenty-five years in the making, Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin capture Oppenheimer’s life and times, from his early career to his central role in the Cold War. This is biography and history at its finest, riveting and deeply informative. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Incorporating elements from history, science, philosophy and international relations theory, this book takes a fresh look at the life and thought of Robert Oppenheimer.The author argues that not only are Oppenheimer's ideas important, engaging and relevant, but also more coherent than generally assumed. He makes a convincing case that Oppenheimer has much to say about 21st century issues, and his voice should be brought back into the public forum.The book recovers and reconstructs what Oppenheimer said and wrote during the 1940s, 50s and 60s (i.e., his hope and vision) with the goal of identifying what might be of general philosophical interest today. It considers not only Oppenheimer's thought, but also his life using philosophical ideas developed by contemporary philosophers.In addition, to deepen and broaden the discussion and demonstrate the relevance of Oppenheimer's vision for the present, the author analyzes his views using contemporary international relations theory with a special emphasis on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. This examination reveals ways in which Oppenheimer's reasoning was prescient of current work being carried out to control, and possibly move beyond, the nuclear revolution.
He called the first atomic bomb “technically sweet,” yet as he watched its brilliant light explode over the New Mexico desert in 1945 in advance of the black horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he also thought of the line from the Hindu epic The Bhagavad Gita: “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific director of the Manhattan Project, the single most recognizable face of the atomic bomb, and a man whose name has become almost synonymous with Cold War American nuclear science, was and still is a conflicted, controversial figure who has come to represent an equally ambivalent technology. The Meanings of J. Robert Oppenheimer examines how he has been represented over the past seven decades in biographies, histories, fiction, comics, photographs, film, television, documentaries, theater, and museums. Lindsey Michael Banco gathers an unprecedented group of cultural texts and seeks to understand the multiple meanings Oppenheimer has held in American popular culture since 1945. He traces the ways these representations of Oppenheimer have influenced public understanding of the atomic bomb, technology, physics, the figure of the scientist, the role of science in war, and even what it means to pursue knowledge of the world around us. Questioning and unpacking both how and why Oppenheimer is depicted as he is across time and genre, this book is broad in scope, profound in detail, and offers unique insights into the rise of nuclear culture and how we think about the relationship between history, imagination, science, and nuclear weapons today.
2004 marked the centennial of the birth of J Robert Oppenheimer, and brought historians and scholars, former students, nuclear physicists, and politicians together to celebrate this event. Oppenheimer's life and work became central to 20th century history as he spearheaded the development of the atomic bomb that ended World War II. This book provides a spectrum of interpretations of Oppenheimer's life and scientific achievements. It approaches the extraordinary scientist and teacher from many perspectives, chronicling the years from his boyhood through his role as director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and afterwards. The book also discusses Oppenheimer's connection to New Mexico, which hosted two of the Manhattan Project's most crucial sites, and addresses his lasting impact on contemporary science, international politics, and the postwar age. Contents:Introduction:Defying the Odds (C C Kelly)Introducing Oppenheimer:Oppenheimer Reconsidered (J Bingaman)Robert Oppenheimer: King of the Hill (R Rhodes)A Novel Idea of Oppenheimer (J Kanon)Life at Los Alamos:Preservation on the Pajarito Plateau (S Ashman)J Robert Oppenheimer and the State of New Mexico: A Reciprocal Relationship (F Szasz)Robert Oppenheimer: A Window on His Life at Los Alamos (K Bird & M Sherwin)Oppenheimer's Place in History:Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (E Beckner)The Cautionary Tale of Robert Oppenheimer (G Herken)The Early Years of Robert Oppenheimer (J Hunner)General Groves' Indispensable Scientist (R S Norris)Personal Reflections on Oppenheimer:Oppenheimer as a Teacher of Physics and PhD Advisor (E Gerjuoy)Remembering Opje: Teacher, Scientist and Friend (D Pines)J Robert Oppenheimer: Consummate Physicist (M M Shapiro)A Few Words from an Oppenheimer (A R Oppenheimer) Readership: Historians, scientists, general readers of contemporary history. Keywords:Oppenheimer, J Robert;Manhattan Project;Los Alamos;New Mexico;Groves, General Leslie R;World War II;Atomic Bomb;Nuclear Physics;Manhattan Engineering District;History of Science and TechnologyKey Features:Articles by notable experts in their fields, including Senator Jeff Bingaman, Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Rhodes (The Making of the Atomic Bomb), Robert S Norris (Racing for the Bomb), Gregg Herken (Brotherhood of the Bomb), Joseph Kanon (Los Alamos), Everet Beckner, and many othersNever-before-published personal perspectives and recollections of Robert Oppenheimer from his students and friends
This book presents a comprehensive analysis of the contentious relationship between the White House and the scientific community from the FDR administration to the Obama administration. * Includes interviews with scientists and science experts * Presents photographs of scientists, politicians, and scientific accomplishments * Provides a bibliography of print and online resources for further reading * Outlines an annotated list of private organizations whose work relates to science and politics
From Roosevelt to Truman initially investigates Truman's foreign policy background and then examines the legacy that FDR bequeathed to him.
An epic story of science and technology at the very limits of human understanding: the monumental race to build the first atomic weapons. Rich in personality, action, confrontation, and deception, The First War of Physics is the first fully realized popular account of the race to build humankind's most destructive weapon. The book draws on declassified material, such as MI6's Farm Hall transcripts, coded soviet messages cracked by American cryptographers in the Venona project, and interpretations by Russian scholars of documents from the soviet archives. Jim Baggott weaves these threads into a dramatic narrative that spans ten historic years, from the discovery of nuclear fission in 1939 to the aftermath of 'Joe-1,’ August 1949's first Soviet atomic bomb test. Why did physicists persist in developing the atomic bomb, despite the devastation that it could bring? Why, despite having a clear head start, did Hitler's physicists fail? Could the soviets have developed the bomb without spies like Klaus Fuchs or Donald Maclean? Did the allies really plot to assassinate a key member of the German bomb program? Did the physicists knowingly inspire the arms race? The First War of Physics is a grand and frightening story of scientific ambition, intrigue, and genius: a tale barely believable as fiction, which just happens to be historical fact.

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