Everything to know about J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project before you watch the Christopher Nolan’s film 

The recently released film of Christopher Nolan is going to unravel the story behind the creation of the deadliest weapons known to mankind with exploring the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Before you watch the film, here are a few things that you should know. 

Probably the most anticipated film of Christopher Nolan’s has been recently released in theaters and brought us a little closer to the story and people behind the creation of the first atomic bomb through the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer. While we all know how J. Robert Oppenheimer played a significant role in the Manhattan Project, the film explored more on the other aspects of it like the emotional instability that he felt after he started regretting his participation in the project. Considering the historical significance of the character and the events around him, the film sure had a lot to explore. 

Who was J. Robert Oppenheimer and how did he contributed to the creation of the deadliest weapons known to mankind ? 

Born in New York in 1904 to a German Immigrant and wealthy textile importer, Julius Oppenheimer and Painter Ella Friedman Oppenheimer, J. Robert Oppenheimer is described to be a quiet child studying mineralogy and writing poetry. He later studied Physics, Chemistry, Latin, Greek and eastern Philosophy at Harvard. He received his doctorate in physics from the University of Göttingen. Then, he returned to the United States to teach physics in the university of California at Berkeley and California institute of technology where he also conducted numerous researches on Black Holes and neutron stars while working alongside physicist, Ernest Lawrence. He joined the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory that was responsible for confidential research and production of the Atomic bombs under the Manhattan project which was known with the name of Project Y at that time according to the U.S. department of Energy.

And it was the beginning of Oppenheimer’s most influential years in history. At that time, General Leslie Groves was the director of the Manhattan Project and he was the one who selected Robert Oppenheimer to lead the project. After numerous researches by the teams of scientists and engineers, the Gadget which was the world’s first nuclear test device, Little Boy, which was a Uranium-fueled atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan and Fat Man which was a plutonium-fueled atom bomb dropped at Nagasaki, Japan. 

What happened after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Oppenheimer was proud to be contributing to the advancement of nuclear technology after the first-ever successful nuclear bomb explosion during a test in New Mexico but it didn’t take him long to regret it all. It was after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when Oppenheimer starts to regret taking part in the Manhattan project witnessing the terrible consequences that this invention can bring. With being horrified of the way things have turned out, he wrote a letter to the Secretary of War and expressed his disapproval and advocated that the use of nuclear weapons should be banned which he also discussed with President Harry Truman later. After this, he never stopped advocating the regulation of nuclear weapons considering the disaster that they can cause which kind of made him the enemy of the US government. 

During the McCarthyism era, the FBI started to suspect if J. Robert Oppenheimer had secret ties with Soviet Union. The fact that he had expressed communist sentiments in the past and his wife and brother being the open members of the Communist Party gave them more reasons to be suspicious. The trial negatively affected his reputation and his security permit was cancelled. After that, he moved to the Virgin Islands with his family and spent his rest of the life there. 

“Now I have become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds”

In 1965, during a television broadcast about the things that lead to the Trinity Test, Oppenheimer said, “We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent.” Mentioning s reference of Bhagavad-Gita, he said “Vishnu was trying to convince Prince Arjuna to take part in the the war and fulfil his duty and to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds’, I suppose we all thought that, one way or another. 

His story had a tragic ending. After moving to Princeton, New Jersey, he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1965 as he has been a chain smoker most of his life which also caused his cancer to be an agressive one. Surgeries and Chemotherapies did not work in his treatment and led him to go in coma on 15th February, 1967 but he died three days later. 

Although, J. Robert Oppenheimer was famously known for his contribution in the nuclear bombs, the Christopher Nolan’s film is here to show us more on how these events affected Oppenheimer and the World history.  

Watch the Trailer:

Also Read: Why did the cast of Oppenheimer leave the London premiere midway? 

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