Episode 116: Robert Oppenheimer–Troubled Genius

This episode is brought to you by El Yucateco

This episode of the Sofa King Podcast looks at the life and genius of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the nuclear bomb. Born to a wealthy family in 1904, this man went on to master many areas of physics and was personally selected by General Leslie Groves to be the head of the Manhattan Project (the top-secret think tank that developed the nuclear bomb during World War Two). Oppenheimer was more than just a scientist, however. His brilliance led him to a fascination with Eastern Philosophy, helped him master half a dozen languages, and made him a concert-level pianist.

He suffered from depression and Tuberculosis and was a chain smoker, but none of these did him in. Instead, it was his support of communist organizations in the 1930s, decades before he was called up on the House Un-American Activities Committee.

How did a man with communist leanings end up being trusted with America’s greatest secret? What did he do that made President Truman call him a son of a bitch? How did he help usher in the nuclear age in a way that nobody else could have? We look at these questions and explore the snubbing of the Nobel Peace Prize (three times) and the troubles he faced after the war. This is a very interesting episode about one of the most interesting men in American history.

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