Robert Oppenheimer

Physicist, Academic

1904 – 1967

98

Who was Robert Oppenheimer?

Julius Robert Oppenheimer was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is among the persons who are often called the "father of the atomic bomb" for their role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first nuclear weapons. The first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945, in the Trinity test in New Mexico; Oppenheimer remarked later that it brought to mind words from the Bhagavad Gita: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

After the war he became a chief advisor to the newly created United States Atomic Energy Commission and used that position to lobby for international control of nuclear power to avert nuclear proliferation and an arms race with the Soviet Union. After provoking the ire of many politicians with his outspoken opinions during the Second Red Scare, he had his security clearance revoked in a much-publicized hearing in 1954, and was effectively stripped of his direct political influence; he continued to lecture, write and work in physics. Nine years later President John F. Kennedy awarded him with the Enrico Fermi Award as a gesture of political rehabilitation.

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Born
Apr 22, 1904
New York City
Also known as
  • Father of the Atomic Bomb
  • J. Robert Oppenheimer
  • Julius Robert Oppenheimer
Parents
Siblings
Spouses
Children
Ethnicity
  • Ashkenazi Jews
  • Jewish people
Nationality
  • United States of America
  • Germany
Profession
Education
  • Harvard University
  • University of G├Âttingen
  • University of Cambridge
  • Ethical Culture Fieldston School
  • Harvard College
Employment
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Institute for Advanced Study
  • California Institute of Technology
Lived in
  • Berkeley
  • Los Alamos
  • Princeton
  • New York City
Died
Feb 18, 1967
Princeton

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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"Robert Oppenheimer." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 16 Aug. 2022. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/robert_oppenheimer>.

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