J. Robert Oppenheimer ("father of the atomic bomb")

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Julius Robert Oppenheimer

Also Known As: "Doctor Atomic", "Robert Oppenheimer"
Birthdate: (62)
Birthplace: New York, NY, USA
Death: Died in Princeton, NJ, USA
Cause of death: Throat Cancer
Place of Burial: Cremated, (ashes scattered over the Virgin Islands)
Immediate Family:

Son of Julius Seligmann Oppenheimer and Ella Oppenheimer
Husband of Katherine (Kitty) Oppenheimer
Father of <private> Oppenheimer and Katherine (Toni) Oppenheimer
Brother of Frank Friedman Oppenheimer

Occupation: Physicist
Managed by: Judith Berlowitz, busy writing
Last Updated:

About J. Robert Oppenheimer ("father of the atomic bomb")


^ The meaning of the 'J' in J. Robert Oppenheimer has been a source of confusion. Historians Alice Kimball Smith and Charles Weiner sum up the general historical opinion in their volume Robert Oppenheimer: Letters and recollections, on page 1: "Whether the 'J' in Robert's name stood for Julius or, as Robert himself once said, 'for nothing' may never be fully resolved. His brother Frank surmised that the 'J' was symbolic, a gesture in the direction of naming the eldest son after the father but at the same time a signal that his parents did not want Robert to be a 'junior.'" It is not Jewish custom to name children after living relatives. In Peter Goodchild's J. Robert Oppenheimer: Shatterer of Worlds, it is said that Robert's father, Julius, added the empty initial to give Robert's name additional distinction, but Goodchild's book has no footnotes, so the source of this assertion is unclear. Robert's claim that the 'J' stood "for nothing" is taken from an autobiographical interview conducted by Thomas S. Kuhn on November 18, 1963, which currently resides in the Archive for the History of Quantum Physics. On the other hand, Oppenheimer's birth certificate reads "Julius Robert Oppenheimer".


"Julius Robert Oppenheimer (April 22, 1904 – February 18, 1967) was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. Along with Enrico Fermi, he is often called the "father of the atomic bomb" for his role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first nuclear weapons. The first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945, in the Trinity test in New Mexico; Oppenheimer remarked later that it brought to mind words from the Bhagavad Gita: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."








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J. Robert Oppenheimer ("father of the atomic bomb")'s Timeline

April 22, 1904
New York, NY, USA
December 7, 1944
Age 40
Los Alamos, NM, USA
February 18, 1967
Age 62
Princeton, NJ, USA
Cremated, (ashes scattered over the Virgin Islands)