Oppenheimer, J(ulius) Robert


Oppenheimer, J(ulius) Robert

biographical name

(born , April 22, 1904, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died Feb. 18, 1967, Princeton, N.J.) U.S. theoretical physicist. He graduated from Harvard University, did research at Cambridge University, and earned a doctorate from Göttingen University. He returned to the U.S. to teach at the California Institute of Technology (1929–47). His research focused on energy processes of subatomic particles, and he trained a generation of American physicists. In World War II he was named director of the army's atomic-bomb project, later known as the Manhattan Project, and set up the laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M., that remains a principal weapons-research laboratory. He directed the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (1947–66). He strongly opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb, and in 1953 he was suspended from secret nuclear research as an alleged communist sympathizer and a security risk; the case, which pitted him against Edward Teller, became a worldwide cause célèbre. In 1963 he was reinstated and awarded the Enrico Fermi Award.

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