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American Prometheus : The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

by Kai Bird; Martin J. Sherwin Paperback
Item Number Q1630
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Product Information

  • AuthorKai Bird; Martin J. Sherwin
  • Page Count784
  • ISBN100375726268
  • ISBN139780375726262
  • PublisherKnopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Year Published2006
  • Type of BookNon-Fiction
  • Subject20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000
    History of the Americas
    Biography: science, technology & engineering
    Nuclear weapons
    History of science
  • ImprintVintage

Product Description

"American Prometheus is the first full-scale biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer, "father of the atomic bomb," the brilliant, charismatic physicist who led the effort to capture the awesome fire of the sun for his country in time of war. Immediately after Hiroshima, he became the most famous scientist of his generation-one of the iconic figures of the twentieth century, the embodiment of modern man confronting the consequences of scientific progress. He was the author of a radical proposal to place international controls over atomic materials-an idea that is still relevant today. He opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb and criticized the Air Force's plans to fight an infinitely dangerous nuclear war. In the now almost-forgotten hysteria of the early 1950s, his ideas were anathema to powerful advocates of a massive nuclear buildup, and, in response, Atomic Energy Commission chairman Lewis Strauss, Superbomb advocate Edward Teller and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover worked behind the scenes to have a hearing board find that Oppenheimer could not be trusted with America's nuclear secrets. "American Prometheus sets forth Oppenheimer's life and times in revealing and unprecedented detail. Exhaustively researched, it is based on thousands of records and letters gathered from archives in America and abroad, on massive FBI files and on close to a hundred interviews with Oppenheimer's friends, relatives and colleagues. We follow him from his earliest education at the turn of the twentieth century at New York City's Ethical Culture School, through personal crises at Harvard and Cambridge universities. Then to Germany, where he studied quantum physics with the world's mostaccomplished theorists; and to Berkeley, California, where he established, during the 1930s, the leading American school of theoretical physics, and where he became deeply involved with social justice causes and their advocates, many of whom were communists. Then to Los Alamos, New Mexico, where he transf

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