why is J. Robert Oppenheimer an integral player in modern physics?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Under Oppenheimer's guidance, the laboratories at Los Alamos were constructed. There, he brought the best minds in physics to work on the problem of creating an atomic bomb. In the end, he was managing more than 3,000 people, as well as tackling theoretical and mechanical problems that arose. He is often referred to as the "father" of the atomic bomb. (In 1944, the Oppenheimers' second child, Katherine (called Toni), was born at Los Alamos.) The joint work of the scientists at Los Alamos resulted in the first nuclear explosion at Alamagordo on July 16, 1945, which Oppenheimer named "Trinity."

    After the war, Oppenheimer was appointed Chairman of the General Advisory Committee to the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), serving from 1947 to 1952. It was in this role that he voiced strong opposition to the development of the hydrogen bomb. In 1953, at the height of U.S. anticommunist feeling, Oppenheimer was accused of having communist sympathies, and his security clearance was taken away. The scientific community, with few exceptions, was deeply shocked by the decision of the AEC. In 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson attempted to redress these injustices by honoring Oppenheimer with the Atomic Energy Commission's prestigious Enrico Fermi Award.

    From 1947 to 1966, Oppenheimer also served as the Director of Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study. There, he stimulated discussion and research on quantum and relativistic physics. Oppenheimer retired from Princeton in 1966 and died of throat cancer on February 18, 1967.

  • 1 decade ago

    He directed the development of the first atomic bombs.

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