Thursday, October 17, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Copies available at UW-Madison
From the November 2004 New Books List:

Bernstein, Jeremy. (2004). Oppenheimer: Portrait of an Enigma. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee. 

"The author of this fascinating book on one of the US's preeminent scientist-administrators of the 20th century is himself a respected physicist and noted essayist for the New Yorker. J. Robert Oppenheimer became famous for directing the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, New Mexico, which developed the atomic bomb. Later he headed the world-renowned Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, which had on its faculty the world's most famous scientist ever, Albert Einstein. Bernstein writes engagingly and with much personal knowledge (having also served at the Institute under Oppenheimer). He recounts Oppenheimer's eclectic life as it evolved in the US through his education and service at several prestigious institutions. There are absorbing vignettes, some sad and others enlightening, of several well-known individuals, mostly scientists, whose lives intersected with Oppenheimer's. The book is not a review of Oppenheimer's contributions to physics or the development of the atomic bomb; rather, it provides insight into the human side of a brilliant individual, all things considered. Of course, his leadership of the Manhattan Project, and his persecution by Congress for alleged communist sympathies, defined Oppenheimer's career. Bernstein provides personalized insights into both. Excellent endnotes; good index; rare photographs." -- as reviewed by N. Sadanand in CHOICE Reviews, Sept. 2004

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