Friday, December 6, 2013

Opening paragraphs...........Part the First

Princeton, New Jersey, February 25, 1967:  Despite the menacing weather and bitter cold that chilled the Northeast, six hundred friends and colleagues - Nobel laureates, politicians, generals, scientists, poets, novelists, composers and acquaintances from all walks of life - gathered to recall the live and mourn the death of J. Robert Oppenheimer.  Some knew him as their gentle teacher and affectionately called him "Oppie."  Others knew him as a great physicist, a man who in 1945 had become the "father" of the atomic bomb, a national hero and an emblem of the scientist as public servant.  And everyone remembered with deep bitterness now how, just nine years later, the new Republican administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower had declared him a security risk - making Robert Oppenheimer the most prominent victim of America's anticommunist crusade.  And so they came with heavy hearts to remember a brilliant man whose remarkable life had been touched by triumph as well as tragedy.
-Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, from the prologue to American Prometheus:  The Triumph and Tragedy of  J. Robert Oppenheimer

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