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OPPENHEIMER ..The man? The scientist? Or, the idea?

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

Now, this is a teaser.. To disappoint you, this is not a movie review. Or a discussion in any way of the film, the actors, C Nolan or the legend of Oppenheimer himself. Its a reflection of the times, that any public personality, whether mythical or real or like Oppenheimer brings out the same identity question, who really owns him?.

The scientific community would own him, just as the Americans now shamed by McCarthy era excesses. Even we could do so, after the Bhagvad Gita references.

But, like a true scientist he is shown equidistant; to communism & capitalism, to peaceniks & war-mongers, to the moral prudes & the libertarians, to all in short.

It may appear (from the film) that he had no moral qualm about Japan as a target for the bomb, even as he was proud to lead the team as a scientist.

The only known fact is that as a Jew, he was committed to testing an atomic bomb before the Germans did, although they surrendered 3 months before Hiroshima.

So, if Germany had surrendered and it was conceivable that Japan would not hold out, the tantalizing thing is whether the bomb could have been put on hold.

Apparently, the need to 'prove' the bomb took priority for the establishment & scientific curiosity may have propelled him to the success of the 'experiment'.

His vision in developing the bomb as an ultimate weapon was to push for peace once once the futility of mutual destruction in nuclear war was acceptable to all.

It is cold comfort that peace is likened to a zero-sum game when Oppenheimer says " It's like two scorpions in a bottle, both would die unless they co-existed".

It may be argued that risk of nuclear war has prevented an actual nuclear war or a bigger war but no one can answer whether the world has become a safer place.

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