Profile of J. Robert Oppenheimer
Soon thereafter, his loyalty in the United States was questioned and
Hi, I'm Ben Arrona, here for About.com. I'm an historian with a Master's Degree in American History, and today we will be discussing the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer.The 20th Century was a time of great technological and scientific advancement in the history of man. And while many who left their mark in this arena did so for the betterment of man, J. Robert Oppenheimer, called the father of the atomic bomb, struggled for the rest of his life with what he helped to create. Let's take a closer look.Born on April 22, 1904 in New York, New York to a wealthy family, education was always an important part of Oppenheimer's life. At 18 he enrolled at Harvard University, ultimately graduating with a degree in Chemistry in 1925. Oppenheimer continued his studies and graduated with a PhD from Gottingen University in Germany in 1927. Upon returning to the United States he began teaching Physics at U.C. Berkeley.Oppenheimer was also a strong research physicist, a strength that caught the government's eye during WWII. In June of 1942, he was named the Director of the Manhattan Project, whose job it was to create the first atomic bomb. Oppenheimer helped to assemble the team of scientists that worked on the project at a research lab in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The stakes were incredibly high as the United States was in the race with Germany to create the first atomic bomb, as WWII raged on.Finally, three years after they began, Oppenheimer and his team were ready with a small scale, working atomic bomb. On July 16, 1945, at the Trinity test site in Alamogordo, New Mexico, the first atomic bomb test took place. After the successful test, the team built the larger bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki less than a month later, which would ultimately end WWII in the Pacific Theater.For all of his groundbreaking work as a scientist in creating the bomb, Oppenheimer, and much of his team, were left with a feeling of dread and regret once they were afforded the perspective to see what they had created. The unparallelled devastation that their bomb could unleash weighed heavily on Oppenheimer's mind.As the United States proceeded to devise and construct even more powerful bombs, Oppenheimer became a leading voice of opposition. Soon thereafter, his loyalty in the United States was questioned, and his security clearance was revoked. J. Robert Oppenheimer spent most of the rest of his life as the Director of the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton University. He left this position shortly before his death from throat cancer in 1967.Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.