J. Robert Oppenheimer: Before the War; The Science of War: Nuclear History; Exclusive Online Issues; by John S. Rigden; 4 Page(s)
Fifty years ago this month, on July 16, 1945, an unearthly blast of light seared the predawn sky over the desert in New Mexico. The witnesses of this event included many of this century's most distinguished physicists. As they watched the boiling glare through their welding goggles, a sober reality bore into them: the nuclear age had begun. The chief witness--the person who had directed the atomic bomb project from its inception--was J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Oppenheimer was a rare individual. His intellectual acuity, diverse interests, frail physique and ethereal personality made him a man of legendary proportions. After World War II Oppenheimer became a public figure, known for leading the physicists who built the atomic bomb at Los Alamos Laboratory. His success as the director of the Manhattan Project provided him with a base of influence, and, for a time, he enjoyed the authority and power that were his.