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Episode 2483             Episode 2485
Episode 2484

J. Robert Oppenheimer
Tue, 2024-Feb-20 01:39 UTC
Length - 3:47

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Welcome to popular Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of a popular Wikipedia page every day.

With 236,434 views on Monday, 19 February 2024 our article of the day is J. Robert Oppenheimer.

J. Robert Oppenheimer (born Julius Robert Oppenheimer; OP-ən-hy-mər; April 22, 1904 – February 18, 1967) was an American theoretical physicist. He was director of the Manhattan Project's Los Alamos Laboratory during World War II and is often called the "father of the atomic bomb".

Born in New York City, Oppenheimer earned a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry from Harvard University in 1925 and a doctorate in physics from the University of Göttingen in Germany in 1927, where he studied under Max Born. After research at other institutions, he joined the physics department at the University of California, Berkeley, where he became a full professor in 1936. He made significant contributions to theoretical physics, including achievements in quantum mechanics and nuclear physics such as the Born–Oppenheimer approximation for molecular wave functions, work on the theory of electrons and positrons, the Oppenheimer–Phillips process in nuclear fusion, and early work on quantum tunneling. With his students, he also made contributions to the theory of neutron stars and black holes, quantum field theory, and the interactions of cosmic rays.

In 1942, Oppenheimer was recruited to work on the Manhattan Project, and in 1943 he was appointed director of the project's Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico, tasked with developing the first nuclear weapons. His leadership and scientific expertise were instrumental in the project's success. On July 16, 1945, he was present at the first test of the atomic bomb, Trinity. In August 1945, the weapons were used against Japan in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only use of nuclear weapons in an armed conflict.

In 1947, Oppenheimer became the director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and chaired the influential General Advisory Committee of the newly created U. S. Atomic Energy Commission. He lobbied for international control of nuclear power to avert nuclear proliferation and a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. He opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb during a 1949–1950 governmental debate on the question and subsequently took positions on defense-related issues that provoked the ire of some U. S. government and military factions. During the second Red Scare, Oppenheimer's stances, together with his past associations with the Communist Party USA, led to the revocation of his security clearance, following a 1954 security hearing. This effectively ended his access to the government's atomic secrets and his career as a nuclear physicist. Also stripped of his direct political influence, Oppenheimer nevertheless continued to lecture, write, and work in physics. In 1963, as a gesture of political rehabilitation, he was given the Enrico Fermi Award. He died four years later, of throat cancer. In 2022, the federal government vacated the 1954 revocation of his security clearance.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 01:39 UTC on Tuesday, 20 February 2024.

For the full current version of the article, see J. Robert Oppenheimer on Wikipedia.

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