Thursday, February 18, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 1863


Princeton, New Jersey (JFK+50) Forty-nine years ago today, February 18, 1967, the acknowledged "father of the atomic bomb", J. Robert Oppenheimer*, died here in Princeton at the age of 62.

Mr. Oppenheimer, who had worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II and set up a top secret laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, died as a result of throat cancer.

After the United States dropped atomic bombs on Japan, Oppenheimer worked with the Atomic Energy Commission for the international control of nuclear energy.

In 1953, he was accused of being a communist, lost his security clearance and was ousted from the AEC for both his opposition to the development of the hydrogen bomb as well as his admitted "leftist" political views.

Despite this, Dr. Oppenheimer was presented with the Enrico Fermi Award by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1963.  Shortly before his death, the Father of the Atomic Bomb expressed some misgivings about its use against Japan.  He said...

"I have no remorse about the making of the bomb (but) as for how we used it...I do not have the feeling that it was done right.  The ultimatum to Japan was full of pious platitudes...our government should have acted with more foresight and clarity in telling the world and Japan what the bomb meant."

*Julius Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) was born in New York City.  His father was a German textile merchant.  JRO attended Ethical Culture Society School and Harvard where he graduated in 1925.

JRO earned his PhD at the University of Gottingen in 1926 & was a professor at the University of California Berkeley.  After his work on the Manhattan Project, he served as chairman of the General Advisory Committee to the Atomic Energy Commission 1947-1952.


"Day of Trinity," by Lansing Lamont, Scribner Publishing Company, New York, 1965.

"J. Robert Oppenheimer," by Doug Long,

"J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967),

J. Robert Oppenheimer (1946)
Photo by Ed Westcott**
Guest Lodge
Oak Ridge, TN
DOE Digital Archive

**Ed Westcott was the only authorized photographer at Oak Ridge.  He photographed Senator John F. Kennedy at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory during his visit on February 24, 1959. (see below)

Senator John F. Kennedy
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
February 24, 1959
Photo by Ed Westcott
DOE Digital Archive