Time and nuclear technology

September 12, 2023, 7:08AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

Hi friends, I hope you had a good summer. Like many of you, I took a break from my summer vacation to watch Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. I’m an unabashed Nolan fan—Inception and Interstellar rank among my top 10 favorite movies—but I’ll admit that Oppenheimer required more time for me to digest.

The film itself is first-rate: powered by a taut screenplay, its stripped-down elemental cinematography largely validates the director’s decision not to use any computer-generated imagery (although a couple of quick CGI scenes from the K-25 enrichment facility or the X-10 graphite reactor would have been really cool). The result is a historically faithful, largely accurate celebration of the brilliant minds that enabled one of the most daring engineering feats of all time.

ANS to host behind-the-scenes Oppenheimer event featuring LANL

August 16, 2023, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The American Nuclear Society will be hosting a special online event on Friday, August 25, at 11:00 am (ET). The webinar Oppenheimer: Behind the Scenes with Los Alamos National Laboratory will feature representatives from LANL, who will discuss the blockbuster feature Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan, which premiered last month in theaters.

After 70 years, J. Robert Oppenheimer’s legacy is being rewritten

December 22, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

On December 16 the Department of Energy reversed a decision made nearly 70 years ago by leaders of its predecessor agency, the Atomic Energy Commission, to revoke the security clearance of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who led the first group of scientists and engineers at what would eventually become Los Alamos National Laboratory as they built the first atomic bomb. While it comes far too late for Oppenheimer, his family, and his colleagues to appreciate, the McCarthy-era campaign to discredit Oppenheimer is now itself officially discredited as “a flawed process that violated the Commission’s own regulations,” in the words of the DOE’s recent announcement.

Oppenheimer’s story has been told many times by biographers and chroniclers of the Manhattan Project; a new feature film is expected in July 2023. Today, we offer a #ThrowbackThursday post that examines the scant coverage of Oppenheimer’s life and work in the pages of Nuclear News to date and draws on other historical content—and the DOE’s recent move to correct the record—to fill a few of the gaps.