J. Robert Oppenheimer is one of the most important figures in the history of science and technology. He is best known as the father of the atomic bomb, but his contributions to science and technology extended far beyond that. In Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, readers gain an intimate portrait of the man and his accomplishments.
The book begins with Oppenheimer’s childhood and early education, and how he developed his interest in science. It then follows his career as a professor at Berkeley and his involvement in the Manhattan Project. The authors provide a detailed account of the development of the atomic bomb and the ethical questions surrounding it. They also explore Oppenheimer’s later life, including his role in the Cold War and his eventual fall from grace due to his opposition to the development of the hydrogen bomb.
Throughout the book, the authors provide insight into Oppenheimer’s character and motivations. They show how he was driven by his passion for science and his commitment to doing what he thought was right. They also explore the difficulties he faced due to his Jewish heritage and his left-leaning political views.
American Prometheus is an engaging and informative biography of one of the most important figures of the twentieth century. It is a must-read for anyone interested in science, technology, and the history of the atomic age.
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American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer it is a biography in J. Robert Oppenheimer in kai bird and Martin J. Sherwin. Twenty-five years in the making, the book was published in 2005 and received the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. He also won the 2008 Duff Cooper Award, Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year and Discover magazine Best Science Book of the Year.
The book was compiled and researched over two decades by Martin J. Sherwin before kai bird was commissioned to bring it together in a cohesive and readable format about the life and impact of J. Robert Oppenheimer.
“The modern Prometheans invaded Mount Olympus again and brought back to man the very thunderbolts of Zeus.”
J. Robert Oppenheimer, often credited as the “father of the atomic bomb”, was a physicist who played a significant role in Manhattan Project as head and coordinator of the project. The project eventually led to the creation of the nuclear atomic bomb, a weapon of mass destruction. This bomb is considered a crucial turning point and a significant meeting between science and the weapons of war. This makes Oppenheimer not only an important historical figure, but also a symbol of the atomic bomb ethics and political discourse on nuclear energy. This book delves into various components of his life inside and outside the Manhattan Project. His early life, ambitions, ideas, relationships with other physicists, and impact are discussed in this book.
Oppenheimer expressed that he did not regret the overall fabrication of the bomb, as Germany nuclear ambitions during Second World War many countries worried about the country’s future actions. There was a much more pressing concern of Nazi Germany completing the German Nuclear Weapons Program before any of the other powers during World War II that the United States was unwilling to risk.
Oppenheimer had certain known qualms about the Atomic bomb and the possible future uses of the bomb that could lead to the deaths of millions of people. He and other scientists expressed their concern and disagreement with the bomb’s use on Nagasaki, Japan, finding it to be an unnecessary choice. Prometheus, the Titan god of fire from Greek mythology, is famously known as a figure who symbolizes eternal regret for stealing fire from Zeus to give to mankind. The titan did this to save this wave of humanity that had already fallen apart twice due to war and famine. This book uses that comparison to get the weight of the nuclear weapon that Oppenheimer carried for the rest of his life.
The May 2006 paperback edition consists of 721 pages, along with 32 pages of photographs. The first edition is also 721 pages long.
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