Who was Robert Oppenheimer, the "father" of the atomic bomb: "I become Death, destroyer of worlds"

Photo: Profimedia

In the world of the film industry in the past year, only the pink typhoon called "Barbie" managed to attract more attention than the masterpiece about the "father" of the atomic bomb by the director Christopher Nolan, writes in Serbian "Euronews".

The movie "Oppenheimer" is based on the book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Opheimer," which won the Pulitzer Prize, written by Kai Baird and the late Martin J. Sherwin.

But who really is Robert Oppenheimer?

Robert Oppenheimer was born in New York on April 22, 1904. His parents were Jews, originally from Germany, who immigrated to America at the end of the 19th century. The family acquired great wealth in New York, so young Robert was given the opportunity to study chemistry at Harvard.

Robert Oppenheimer Photo: Everett / Profimedia

Later, he began to focus on physics and after his undergraduate studies, he continued his education at Cambridge and the University of Göttingen in Germany. He was a student of Max Born, one of the key physicists in the field of quantum mechanics and a friend of big names like Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli and Paul Dirac.

He received his doctorate in Göttingen in 1927, when he was only 23 years old. After his studies, he became a successful physicist, who worked at many universities in Europe and America alongside big names in the field of physics, such as Albert Einstein.

In the 1930s, Oppenheimer became aware of the threat from Nazi Germany, and after 1934, he set aside three percent of his salary to help German physicists leave the country. He was also associated with communist thinkers, which is why he had a file with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Robert Oppenheimer Photo: Photo 12 / Alamy / Alamy / Profimedia

The most significant period in his life began on October 9, 1941, when then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt began the atomic bomb development program two months before the United States entered World War II. In September of the following year, Oppenheimer joined the so-called Manhattan Project and found himself at the head of the team of scientists developing the atomic bomb at Los Alamos.

The first nuclear explosion took place on July 16, 1945, in which he gave the name "Trinity", after a verse from the Sanskrit text "Bhagavad Gita" which he was actually obsessed with.

He was intrigued by mysticism and read ancient Indian texts, so his famous statement was taken from the same source. "I become Death, destroyer of worlds."

Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer Photo: akg-images / akg-images / Profimedia

Oppenheimer soon became aware of the seriousness of what he had created. Just one month later, atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing between 129.000 and 226.000 people. This tragic historical event made him famous all over the world, and he was also interviewed for "Life" magazine.

He continued to work as a consultant to the US government on nuclear weapons, but constantly warned of their destructive power. In a 1953 speech, he compared the nuclear capabilities of the United States and the Soviet Union as "two scorpions in a bottle, each of which can kill the other at the cost of its own life."

After that speech, Atomic Energy Commission Administrator Louis Strauss told Oppenheimer that his security clearance had been revoked and asked him to resign.

The scientist refused this request and insisted on defending himself, but at the public hearing he lost the case and experienced great humiliation. Many sources state that he never recovered from this incident.

Robert Oppenheimer Photo: akg-images / akg-images / Profimedia

Later there were attempts to restore his lost dignity, and in 1963 Lyndon B. Johnson awarded it to him Enrico Fermi Award, the highest scientific award given by the President of the United States. Oppenheimer, who was a heavy smoker, died of throat cancer at his home in Princeton in February 1967.

By the way, the role of Oppenheimer in the film of the same name was entrusted to the Irish actor Killian Murphy, who, preparing for this great task, skipped meals and ate only one almond a day, in order to lose weight and look more like the scientist who lived on alcohol and cigarettes.

Cillian Murphy Photo: LANDMARK MEDIA / Alamy / Alamy / Profimedia

In one of the interviews Murphy called the scientist "contradictory" and "complex".

"I think he believed it would be the weapon to end all wars." He thought that possession of the bomb would motivate countries to establish some kind of nuclear world governance. He was naive," said the actor.

Cillian Murphy Photo: UNIVERSAL / Planet / Profimedia


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