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Julius Robert Oppenheimer (1904)close

Born in New York City, New York, Oppenheimer was the son of a wealthy textile importer. As a child, he became interested in mineral collecting, and through his letters to the New York Mineralogy Club, was invited to present a paper there when he was only twelve years old. In 1922, he enrolled in Harvard, and worked with an experimental physicist there. He continued his work in theoretical physics, and in 1942, he was asked to work on the US Atomic bomb program (eventually to be called the "Manhattan Project"). Oppenheimer recruited scientists to work with him at a facility at Los Alamos, New Mexico. Although the Manhattan Project was successful, Oppenheimer and other scientists who worked on the development of atomic weaponry became concerned about the devastation caused by the dropping of the bomb in Japan. The end of Oppenheimer's career was clouded by charges that he was disloyal to the US, and may have even passed atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, despite the fact that there is no hard evidence that he did so.

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