Series: The Life of J. Robert Oppenheimer

A controversial figure to this day, J. Robert Oppenheimer led the development and construction of the world's first atomic weapons. This article series explores his life from a young man, to his role in the Manhattan Project, to his blacklisting at the height of the Cold War's "Red Scare."

  • Manhattan Project National Historical Park

    Article 1: The Life of J. Robert Oppenheimer: Life Before the Manhattan Project

    Black and white photo of J. Robert Oppenheimer at Harvard.

    First in a series of three, this article highlights the pre-Manhattan Project Era life of Robert Oppenheimer, from his birthplace in New York to his time in New Mexico as a young man, followed by his college years, and into teaching at CalTech and Berkeley in California. On the cusp of Communism and political left-wing leanings, Oppenheimer finds himself, and the career he developed for many years, in the arena of atomic weapons and the start of World II. Read more

  • Manhattan Project National Historical Park

    Article 2: The Life of J. Robert Oppenheimer: The Manhattan Project Years (1941 to 1946)

    Robert Oppenheimer poses unsmiling in security badge photo. “K6” is in text in front of his necktie.

    The second article in a series of three explores J. Robert Oppenheimer's role during the Manhattan Project. Oppenheimer was appointed Director of the top-secret Los Alamos Laboratory during the Manhattan Project. It was here that he and hundreds of staff toiled in secret, their work culminating in the Trinity Test, the world's first atomic weapon detonation. Read more