Oppenheimer : the tragic intellect


Oppenheimer : the tragic intellect

Charles Thorpe

University of Chicago Press, 2006

  • : paper

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Includes bibliographical references (p. [371]-396) and index

"Paperback edition 2008"--Paperback ed



At a time when the Manhattan Project was synonymous with large-scale science, physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-67) represented the new sociocultural power of the American intellectual. Catapulted to fame as director of the Los Alamos atomic weapons laboratory, Oppenheimer occupied a key position in the compact between science and the state that developed out of World War II. By tracing the making - and unmaking - of Oppenheimer's wartime and postwar scientific identity, Charles Thorpe illustrates the struggles over the role of the scientist in relation to nuclear weapons, the state, and culture.A stylish intellectual biography, Oppenheimer maps out changes in the roles of scientists and intellectuals in twentieth-century America, ultimately revealing transformations in Oppenheimer's persona that coincided with changing attitudes toward science in society.

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