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Oppenheimer et al.....

Oppenheimer's success at the Oscars last week brought a few things to mind that I thought might be worth sharing.....

One is the story of Frank Oppenheimer. He features in the movie but only to the extent that he was part of his brother's life, though he had a very interesting story himself: spending years after the war teaching high school physics before returning to 3rd level academia and ultimately creating one of the first modern science museums in San Francisco.

Also very good is this interview with Kai Bird on the always-interesting Physics World podcast. Bird was one of the authors of the book on which the movie was based, and tells the tale of how it took 25 years to get it finished;

And it also reminded me of this famous piece of journalism: Hiroshima | The New Yorker

It was published one year after the bombing in Hiroshima and it is often credited as the turning-pojnt in America's understanding of nuclear weapons. In it, John Hershey follows the story of 6 individuals in the days immediately before and after the bomb. It is, of course, absolutely harrowing, though some of the stories of how people tried to help each other are inspiring too.

In a detail that has stayed with me, one man tells how he watched survivors crossing a bridge as they tried to get away from the city, and he noticed how the pretty floral prints that many of the women had worn at the time had become imprinted on their skin by the intensity of the light from the explosion.

The story made such an impact at the time that it was published as a book soon after, but it also remains available for free on the New Yorker website at the link above.

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