Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center

In this lecture, Ray Monk, author of Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center, Random House, 2013, will tell the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Institute’s third Director (1947–66), in the context of the momentous developments in which he played a leading part. It will describe the community in which he was brought up, his development as a physicist, his involvement in left-wing politics in the 1930s, and his unlikely choice as director of the laboratory in Los Alamos that produced the world’s first atomic bomb. It will also describe his attempts after the war to secure international control over atomic energy, his opposition to the hydrogen bomb, and the security hearing of 1954 that stripped him of his security clearance. As the lecture will show, however, by the time he died in 1967 his reputation—as a scientist, a statesman, and a loyal U.S. citizen—had been truly re-established.



Ray Monk


Professor, University of Southampton