J. Robert Oppenheimer was an American theoretical physicist who is often called the “father of the atomic bomb.” He was the director of the Manhattan Project’s Los Alamos Laboratory during World War II.
Oppenheimer was born in New York City to Jewish immigrants from Germany. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Harvard University in 1925 and a doctorate in physics from the University of Göttingen in Germany in 1927.
After returning to the United States, Oppenheimer taught physics at the University of California, Berkeley and the California Institute of Technology. He was also a consultant to the U.S. government on nuclear matters.
In 1942, Oppenheimer was appointed director of the Manhattan Project, which was the U.S. government’s effort to develop the atomic bomb. Under his leadership, the Los Alamos Laboratory successfully developed the first atomic bombs, which were used to end World War II.
After the war, Oppenheimer became a vocal opponent of the development of the hydrogen bomb. He was also investigated by the U.S. government for alleged communist ties. In 1954, he was denied security clearance and forced to resign from his position at the Los Alamos Laboratory.
Oppenheimer died in 1967 at the age of 62. He is remembered as one of the most brilliant physicists of his generation and as a complex and controversial figure.