Julius Robert Oppenheimer was a scientist who did important work in the 20th century.

People thought he was very smart, and he spent his whole life studying physics and its wide world. He was a member of the leftist movement, and in his life he crossed paths with famous people like Albert Einstein. He also made the strongest weapon ever made.

Even now, he is a well-known figure in the world of science. He is known as the physicist who came up with the idea for the atomic bomb.

Who was Julius Robert Oppenheimer?

Julius Robert Oppenheimer was born in New York and grew up there. He was a person who was born on April 22, 1904. His father, who also had the same name, was a merchant in the textile business who had a lot of money. Ella Friedman was the name of his artist mother.

Both were Jewish and had moved to New York from where they were born. They got married in 1903, and JR Oppenheimer was born in 1904, followed by his brother 8 years later.

Because of the hard work his father did, he has always had a lot of money. He lived with well-educated, well-known people from high society.

The first steps of his education

At the Ethical Culture Society School, he starts his second year of high school. He was known to be a good student who was interested in learning and took classes outside of school. Some of these were the Greek language and the French region’s literature.

After he graduated from high school with honors and praise, he got sick and had to rest for about a year. He couldn’t start college right away because of this reason.

Because his family had enough money, he was able to go to New Mexico and get medical care that helped him get better.

College education

He started to study at Harvard, which is a great school. He was mostly interested in chemistry there. Area where he finished his studies with the best grade in just three years. During this journey, he became very good at things like physics and philosophy, and he also became fluent in many languages.

He became interested in thermodynamics, but his home country didn’t offer any training in the field, so he went to Europe. When he got to Europe, he began to study experimental physics. Later, he saw that he was more interested in and good at theoretical physics.

This is the way to get to the campus of the university in Gottingen. Max Born, Niels Bohr, and Paul Dirac helped him get started with his theoretical physics studies at this school. Who were his teachers, and how did they help him learn a lot about this?

At the age of 22, this young man got his Ph.D., and he was seen as a possible physics expert of the past few years. He was a standout at the meetings he attended, and his work on quantum mechanics earned him respect and merit in the scientific community.

Entry into the professional world

When he went to Europe, he went to Cavendis, which is in England. There, he learned about some atomic elements and studied things that had to do with particle energy. What is thought to be his first taste of atomic energy knowledge and study.

A year later, he worked at the Gottingen institute with the well-known mathematician and physicist Max Bord. Where they made a big difference to quantum molecular theory by working together.

After he finished his studies in Europe, he went back to Harvard, but this time it was to teach. In the same way, he was able to join the research council on the campus of the university.

This happened for a whole year. He then moved to California to work as a researcher at the California Institute of Technology. In 1929, he was still doing research and teaching at the Berkeley University Institute.

JR Oppenheimer on the personal level

Even though this man was very smart, it is known that his emotional life was full of ups and downs. He had times when people thought he was sad and depressed, which made him stay away from other people.

He smoked all the time and would sometimes stop eating so he could focus on his work and school. His family worried a lot about how lonely and uncertain he was. Even though he was very important, he was shy around the public and strangers.

All of these problems made it hard for him to make friends and build relationships that would last. In the same way, it was said that he had a tendency to hurt himself, but that he kept it in check by giving his life to science.

How Oppenheimer got started in politics

Oppenheimer was an unreal person. He was only interested in science and getting more knowledge about it. He didn’t care about what was going on in the social and political world around him. He didn’t start to pay more attention to these things until the 1930s.

He was part of the leftist movement and believed in communism. He fought in the Spanish Civil War, but he was never a member of this party.

He met KP Harrison during this time, and they got married in 1940. With whom did he have his first child a year later?

As the years passed, and during Stalin’s rule, he lost his sympathy for this political position, since scientists were mistreated and underestimated.

Scientific areas in which JR Oppenheimer ventured

This smart man made a lot of important contributions to science in many different areas. There are some that can be found.

  • Astrophysics.
  • Nuclear physics.
  • Quantum field theory.
  • physical principles.
  • Initial research on black holes.
  • He contributed to establish the cosmic ray shower theory.
  • He worked with the quantum tunneling effect.

The first times the atomic bomb was used

Ernest Orlando Lawrence worked on a first project related to the atomic bomb in Berkeley’s radiation laboratory.

Since Oppenheimer was often on this college campus, Lawrence thought he could help with this important investigation.

Even though his fellow politicians didn’t like it, this man thought it was his duty to help the country in this way.

This scientist knew a lot, so he was able to make the first attempt at making a uranium bomb, which turned out great. Because of the start of World War II, the US government found out about the project, took charge, and began a forceful stage.

The New York City project

In the Manhattan Project, Oppenheimer was a very important person. This show was a turning point in both science and history as a whole. What started out as a simple study in Berkeley changed the world in a big way.

Where did the Manhattan Project start?

In 1939, there were the first signs of the Manhattan project. When the well-known scientist Albert Einstein writes a letter to Roosevelt, who was president at the time, In it, he warns about Germany’s plans to make an atomic bomb and the dangers that could come from that.

In response to this warning, the president puts together a group whose job it is to make a nuclear bomb before the Germans do.

When this project started in December 1941, it was the biggest engineering job in the world.

Colonel Groves was put in charge of this mission by the president. He needed someone to lead the scientific part of this work. When he needs to do this, he meets Julius Robert Oppenheimer, a man he thought was brilliant, capable, and well-equipped for the job.

The basis of the project

After getting to know the scientist better, Groves confidently agrees to his plan to put the project’s base in New Mexico. Oppenheimer was interested in this kind of space because he owned land in this area and knew a lot about space. The name “Los Alamos” was given to the lab.

It was a big, quiet, and lonely area. The perfect way to start off this important program.

While this space was being set up, Julius Robert Oppenheimer got the best scientists to work on this project with him. Where a lot of them had won Nobel Prizes in their fields of expertise.

The project base was set up in that area, among other things, to protect the security and privacy of the work they were doing. Groves and the US government thought it was very important that the work done be kept secret at all times.


In 1944, there were reports that Nazi Germany had stopped working on the nuclear bomb. Why many people didn’t think the Manhattan project should keep going. But the orders said to keep working, so Groves and Oppenheimer kept doing what they were doing.

On July 16, 1945, the first nuclear bomb went off in the desert of New Mexico. The scientists were shocked, shocked, surprised, and amazed by this amazing event. Being Oppenheimer the one who seemed to be in the moment before something so hard to describe.

Result of the Manhattan Project

The goal of the United States in the war was to get Japan to give up. Because of this, Oppenheimer was part of the group that chose Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the places where the atomic bomb could be used.

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was hit by the nuclear bomb called Little Boy, which did a lot of damage. The United States isn’t happy with this, and because of how Japan feels, they drop a second bomb on Nagasaki. On August 9, “Fat Man” was called.

Japan gives up the war after these two terrible things happen. But two cities were completely destroyed, and a lot of people died, were hurt, or got sick.

Julius Robert Oppenheimer after the Manhattan Project

In the beginning, and especially after Trinity exploded, Oppenheimer was very happy with what he had done. Supporting the use of it to end wars and get the other side to give up.

By dropping two bombs on Japan, this scientist was still proud of what he had made. He added to the awards and honors he had gotten in his home country. Him coming to the new Atomic Energy Commission to take the job of director.

But he knew how powerful the weapon he had made was and that it would have bad and scary effects on the world. This scientist grew further and further away from these studies as he saw how they wanted to use atomic energy for the country’s good and to make peace with other countries.

He was against making more nuclear-powered weapons, so he stopped going to political and scientific meetings where these issues were discussed. He left Berkeley University slowly because of problems inside the school, and then President Truman put him in the background.


Even though his good behavior and intelligence helped him get other jobs and do some things, he was losing the merits he had earned. In 1954, he lost his job with the Atomic Energy Commission.

During the Spanish Civil War, he was accused of having ties to and working with international communism. This is why he changed his name. In the same way, he was said to be working with people who were directly against the United States.

After these accusations, it was later shown that he was not guilty. But he no longer had the same level of trust or access to information that was important to the country.

A new beginning

By the time he left the complaints, he had already lost a lot of respect, status, and standing in the scientific community of the state. This made him decide to study and work on ways to use nuclear energy only for good.

He went on a tour of many countries in Europe and even made it to Japan. During his trips, he spent a lot of time dictating, talking, and giving detailed information about physics.

US President John F. Kennedy gave Julius Robert Oppenheimer permission to get the Enrico Fermi Award. Where many of his scientific colleagues asked that he be given this honor.

Since Kennedy was killed, Lyndon Johnson was the one to give out the award.

The Last Days of Julius Robert Oppenheimer

Julius Robert Oppenheimer spent his later years analyzing and thinking about what he had done in his life. He had spent his whole life studying science. Science, society, and the existential problems that came up because of science and society were all things that interested him.

He and his wife went sailing together and often visited their vacation home in the Virgin Islands.

At the age of 62, he died at Princeton of throat cancer in 1967. At his funeral, there were a number of scientists who had worked with him and others who had been his students or disciples. After that, his ashes were spread out on the Virgin Islands.

This man was without a doubt a key figure in the study of physics and atomic energy. Even though his work was used in ways that caused a lot of trouble around the world, the contribution he made is still important to the history of humanity.

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