Robert Oppenhimer

Topics: Nuclear weapon, Manhattan Project, Los Alamos National Laboratory Pages: 3 (568 words) Published: May 19, 2005
Robert Oppenheimer To build a bomb capable of destroying entire cities at once they needed a person with a smart, fast and creative brain. That person was Robert Oppenheimer. Robert Oppenheimer was the brilliant scientist behind the development of the atomic bomb. While atomic bombs kill lots of people, the atomic bomb won the war against the Japanese (World War 2). This helped because we would not have stood a chance attacking the main island on foot.

While Robert's name has become synonymous with the atomic bomb there is more to the story than that. J. Robert Oppenheimer was born in New York City on April 22, 1904. After graduating from Harvard and studying under Ernest Rutherford at Cambridge University, Oppenheimer received his Ph.D. in Germany in 1925. In 1929, he returned to the United States to teach at the University of California Berkeley and at Cal Tech. Upon hearing of discovery of fission in 1939, Oppenheimer immediately grasped the

possibility of atomic bombs. In 1941, he was brought into the atomic bomb project and was

asked to calculate the critical mass of uranium-235, the amount needed to sustain a chain reaction.

The next year he assembled a group of some of the best theoretical physicists in the country to

discuss the design of the actual bomb. General Wesley Groves, the army officer in charge of the

Manhattan Project, named Oppenheimer the scientific director of the program, and together they

decided on Los Alamos, New Mexico, as the site for the nuclear weapons laboratory. Groves


said of Oppenheimer, "He's a genius. A real genius...Why, Oppenheimer knows about everything. He can talk to you about anything you bring up. Well not exactly. I guess there are a few things he doesn't know about. He doesn't know anything about sports" (necularpages).

The staff grew from 30 scientists...
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