21 Great Robert Oppenheimer Quotes

21 Great Robert Oppenheimer Quotes

by / Comments Off / 192 View / Nov 24, 2014

Julius “Robert” Oppenheimer was a professor of physics at the University of California and is one of the few people dubbed the “father of the atomic bomb” for his work on the Manhattan Project in World War II. After the war he was named the chief advisor to the United States Atomic Energy Commission. He died in 1967 at the age of 62.

“Any man whose errors take ten years to correct is quite a man.”

“I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

“I can’t think that it would be terrible of me to say — and it is occasionally true — that I need physics more than friends.”

“I think that all things which evoke discipline: study, and our duties to men and to the commonwealth, war, and personal hardship, and even the need for subsistence, ought to be greeted by us with profound gratitude, for only through them can we attain to the least detachment; and only so can we know peace.”

“In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.”

“In the material sciences these are and have been, and are most surely likely to continue to be heroic days.”

“It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful; they are found because it was possible to find them.”

“It is perfectly obvious that the whole world is going to hell. The only possible chance that it might not is that we do not attempt to prevent it from doing so.”

“No man should escape our universities without knowing how little he knows.”

“The atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable. It has led us up those last few steps to the mountain pass; and beyond there is a different country.”

“The history of science is rich in the example of the fruitfulness of bringing two sets of techniques, two sets of ideas, developed in separate contexts for the pursuit of new truth, into touch with one another.”

“The open society, the unrestricted access to knowledge, the unplanned and uninhibited association of men for its furtherance — these are what may make a vast, complex, ever growing, ever changing, ever more specialized and expert technological world, nevertheless a world of human community.”

“The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears it is true.”

“There are children playing in the streets who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.”

“There are no secrets about the world of nature. There are secrets about the thoughts and intentions of men.”

“There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry … There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors.”

“To the confusion of our enemies.”

“We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism.”

“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do 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.”

“When we deny the EVIL within ourselves, we dehumanize ourselves, and we deprive ourselves not only of our own destiny but of any possibility of dealing with the EVIL of others.”

“When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”