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J. Robert Oppenheimer

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Physicist.

Julius Robert Oppenheimer (April 22, 1904 – February 18, 1967) was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. Along with Enrico Fermi, he is often called the "father of the atomic bomb" for his 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. A decade later President John F. Kennedy awarded (and Lyndon B. Johnson presented) him with the Enrico Fermi Award as a gesture of political rehabilitation.

Oppenheimer's notable achievements in physics include the Born–Oppenheimer approximation for molecular wavefunctions, work on the theory of electrons and positrons, the Oppenheimer–Phillips process in nuclear fusion, and the first prediction of quantum tunneling. With his students he also made important contributions to the modern theory of neutron stars and black holes, as well as to quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, and the interactions of cosmic rays. As a teacher and promoter of science, he is remembered as a founding father of the American school of theoretical physics that gained world prominence in the 1930s. After World War II, he became director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.


Sources:

1.) Scientifically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations, Second Edition, Volume 1. CRC Press. 2000. p. 43. ISBN 9780750306362. "There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors." - J. Robert Oppenheimer

2.) Dronamraju, Krishna (2008). Emerging Consequences of Biotechnology: Biodiversity Loss and IPR Issues. World Scientific. p. 413. ISBN 978-981-277-500-9. "Most of them are either atheists like Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer, or agnostics like JBS Haldane."

3.) Axelrod, Alan (2009). Risk: Adversaries and Allies: Mastering Strategic Relationships. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.. p. 127. ISBN 978-1-4027-5411-1. "He was a Jew and Groves was at least conventionally anti-Semitic; but perhaps worse, Oppenheimer practiced no religion at all and was almost certainly an atheist, whereas Groves was the sincerely believing son of an army chaplain."

4.) Hensley Charles Woodbridge (1986). Jack London newsletter, Volume 19. H.C. Woodbridge. p. 98. "Oppenheimer, a materialist and proponent of the scientific method, argues that Standing's knowledge, say, of the life of a fourth century hermit comes from Standing's memory of his immediate past, either from his reading or hearing about such a person."