May 1, 2018
I chose Robert Oppenheimer because I have always had a growing interest in World War II, the Manhattan Project, and other facts about the time and era. That is why I chose him as my scientist. Julius Robert Oppenheimer was born on April 22, 1904 in New York City, New York. His parents were Ella Friedman and Julius S. Oppenheimer, Robert Oppenheimer was also one of two boys in his family his sibling was named Frank Oppenheimer. Robert Oppenheimer is known as the “Father of the Atomic Bomb.” In 1939 when the Nazi’s invaded Poland Oppenheimer was selected by the president of that time Franklin Delano Roosevelt to lead the Manhattan Project. This was the codename for the project to make the first atomic bomb. On this project he also worked side by side with Albert Einstein. He resigned from this in 1945 after World War II came to an end. In 1963 President John F. Kennedy announced that he was going to award Robert Oppenheimer with the Enrico Fermi Award for his achievements in physics and the Manhattan Project. Sadly in 1963 John F. Kennedy was assassinated before he could receive the award, but in that December he was given the award by Lyndon B. Johnson.
J. Robert Oppenheimer was born on April 22, 1904, in New York City, to German Jewish immigrants. When Robert Oppenheimer entered school he started at The New York Institute for Ethical Culture. He attended this from second grade until he graduated high school. After graduating from Harvard University, Oppenheimer sailed to England and enrolled at the University of Cambridge, where he began his atomic research at the Cavendish Laboratory in 1925. A year later, he teamed with Max Born at Göttingen University, where he met a host of prominent physicists, including Niels Bohr. He received his doctorate at Göttingen while also developing what became known as the “Born-Oppenheimer method,” an important contribution to quantum molecular theory.
Oppenheimer became politically active in the 1930s and agreed with Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard that the Nazis could develop a nuclear weapon. Following the 1939 invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, Oppenheimer was selected to administer a laboratory to carry out the Manhattan Project, a U.S. Army experiment aimed at harnessing atomic energy for military purposes. He led the scientific end of the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico, beginning in 1942.
The project was populated by many scientists who had escaped fascist regimes in Europe, and their mission was to explore a newly documented fission process involving uranium-235, with which they hoped to make a nuclear bomb before Adolf Hitler could develop it. The project was initially allotted $6,000 by the U.S. government, but by the time the work culminated in 1945, the budget had grown to $2 billion. That year marked the first test of the bomb, and with its success, two more bombs were deployed in the following month: one in Nagasaki, Japan, and the other in Hiroshima. These actions essentially ended WWII. After seeing the bomb’s devastation, however, Oppenheimer argued against its further development, and he resigned from his post that same year.
Oppenheimer went on to become chairman of the General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission, which, in October 1949, opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb. This shocking opposition led to accusations that Oppenheimer was a Communist supporter. Thusly, in 1953, he was suspended from secret nuclear research, stripped of his security clearance by the Atomic Energy Commission. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy announced Oppenheimer would receive the Enrico Fermi Award. After Kennedy’s assassination, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented the award to him in December of that year.
J. Robert Oppenheimer continued to support international control of atomic energy in his later years. He died of throat cancer on February 18, 1967, in Princeton, New Jersey. Today, he is often called the “father of the atomic bomb.”