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Robert Oppenheimer - Letters and Recollections (Paperback) Loot Price: R647
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Robert Oppenheimer - Letters and Recollections (Paperback): Alice Kimball Smith, Charles Weiner

Robert Oppenheimer - Letters and Recollections (Paperback)

Alice Kimball Smith, Charles Weiner

Series: Stanford Nuclear Age Series

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List price R709 Loot Price R647 Discovery Miles 6 470 | Repayment Terms: R59 pm x 12* You Save R62 (9%)

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With all that has been written about J. Robert Oppenheimer, it is with considerable excitement that one turns at last to the master's voice himself. Will there be revelations? Explanations of the enigmatic personality, the flawed-but-adored image? Yes and no. Editors Smith and Weiner have collected over a hundred letters extending from Oppenheimer's freshman year at Harvard through 1945. They have kept interpretation to a minimum, but have provided excerpts of a long interview with Thomas Kuhn in which Oppenheimer discusses his scientific career. So what is here is very much for the reader to ponder, and it is fascinating. The first letters, many to Oppenheimer's high school English teacher, are almost a pastiche of the precious polymath, the young man dabbling in fiction and poetry, studying Chinese, and taking courses in philosophy, math, and physics. The prose is arch-baroque, usually beginning with a fulsome apology. The Harvard and later graduate years at Cambridge and Gottingen see Oppenheimer in full Dostoevskian fervor, at times talking all night with literary friends like Paul Horgan, at times depressed and isolated. There is a bout of suspected TB, an unsuccessful psychoanalysis, the almost strangling of a friend, and a strange repugnance for music (later reversed). And withal, as a rich man's son, there are vacations in France or Italy, sails at Bay Shore, and the discovery of his beloved New Mexico haunts. As Oppenheimer grows professionally, we have a wonderful series of letters to younger brother and future physicist Frank, first full of avuncular advice, later revealing a rare intimacy. Then, as his career flowers, the letters lose all their sophomoric pretensions and become charming epistles, combining thoughtfulness with scientific communication. Nevertheless, there is a feeling of remoteness, of someone whose elegant expressions of care belie an emotional distance. Marriage and two children come late in this period, and nothing here casts light on this side of Oppenheimer's life. With the advent of Los Alamos, the letters become increasingly businesslike in tone. As for the turbulent aftermath, the editors include Oppenheimer's speech to Los Alamos scientists expressing his fears for the future; his testimony at the security hearings; and a summary of the final chapter of his life. It is all absorbing reading - more clues, yes, but the mystery remains. (Kirkus Reviews)
Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) is one of the few American scientists who have become public and controversial figures in the twentieth century.T his book adds a new dimension to the Oppenheimer story by offering a look at the private man behind the public figure. It consists of letters spanning the period from his Harvard student days in 1922 to his departure from Los Alamos in 1945. The letters are supplemented by recollections of those who knew Oppenheimer and by his own recollections from an interview a few years before his death. 'A beautifully organized collection of letters and reminiscences ...The editors have interviewed those who knew and worked with him, stirred in the necessary explanatory background, and produced an account, both scholarly and highly readable, which throws fresh light on a man who will probably always remain something of an enigma. Amid devotional defense and almost rabid attack, their book is a model of objectivity.' New York Times Book RevieW 'An intimate, carefully documented, and honest book.' Scientific American 'The first scholarly attempt to come to grips with the development of Oppenheimer's elusive personality, it is all the more impressive because its many revealing letters and candid commentary were gathered from those who knew him best.' Science 'A milestone in Oppenheimer scholarship ...The full measure of Oppenheimer the man, the scientist, and the public figure remains to be taken, but the publication of this rich volume will markedly aid the accomplishment of that ultimate and demanding task.'


Imprint: Stanford University Press
Country of origin: United States
Series: Stanford Nuclear Age Series
Release date: 1995
First published: 1980
Editors: Alice Kimball Smith • Charles Weiner
Dimensions: 157 x 234 x 29mm (L x W x T)
Format: Paperback - Trade / Trade / Trade
Pages: 400
ISBN-13: 978-0-8047-2620-7
Categories: Books > Science & Mathematics > Physics > Atomic & molecular physics
Books > Earth & environment > The environment > Nuclear issues
LSN: 0-8047-2620-5
Barcode: 9780804726207

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