Wednesday, January 28, 2009
J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967): called father of the atomic bomb
He is best known for his role as the scientific director of the Manhattan Project: the World War II effort to develop the first nuclear weapons at the secret Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. For this reason he is remembered as "the father of the atomic bomb". In reference to the Trinity test in New Mexico, where his Los Alamos team first tested the bomb,
Oppenheimer famously recalled the Bhagavad Gita: "If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one." and "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
After the war Oppenheimer was a chief advisor to the newly created United States Atomic Energy Commission and used that position to lobby for international control of atomic energy and to avert the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union.