Union Jack

     English Wordplay ~ Listen and Enjoy

   J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER 1904-1967

Finally, I came to the realization that my life could not 
be one of total play.  I had to go forward with a life purpose 
of accomplishing something for the betterment of society.

He was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley.  He is best known for his role as the scientific director of the Manhattan Project: the World War II effort to develop the first nuclear weapons at the secret Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.  For this reason he is remembered as "The Father of the Atomic Bomb".

In reference to the Trinity test in New Mexico, where his Los Alamos team first tested the bomb, Oppenheimer famously recalled the Bhagavad Gita: "If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one." and "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

Oppenheimer quoting from the Bhagavad Gita

After provoking the ire of many politicians with his outspoken political opinions during the Red Scare, he had his security clearance revoked in a much-publicized and politicized hearing in 1954.

Oppenheimer's notable achievements in physics include work on electron-positron theory, quantum tunneling, special relativity, quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, black holes, and cosmic rays.

PETER: After World War II, General Leslie Groves, the army officer in charge of the atomic bomb project called you "a genius - a real genius."
OPPENHEIMER: I don't really have a concept of what genius is, because from a soul level you realize that, if you have done something in a prior life, you bring it into your current life.  I just had this insatiable curiosity to always know why things worked.
In previous lives I had been an alchemist and had mystically transmuted various substances.  Now I wanted to do it within the confines of physical science, so that people would be able to use, understand, and not consider it witchcraft.
PETER: You didn't turn to your parents' Judaism, but you showed a fascination with Hindu literature, and in your thirties you learned Sanskrit and read the Bhagavad Gita.
OPPENHEIMER: I had been very involved in that religious sect in another lifetime.  What I found in it was an absence of people telling me, "This is the only way it can be."  I found a fluidity.
PETER: At Harvard you successfully studied not only chemistry and physics, but also a wide range of liberal arts subjects.  Colleagues felt your contributions were so diverse that you did not received the recognition you deserved, especially for your work on gravitational collapse (concerning neutron stars and black holes).
OPPENHEIMER: (LAUGHS) My focus was always what appealed to me at the moment.  To others it appeared that I was a crazy ball bouncing off the walls, going in all directions, but I always got to the point I was searching for before I moved on.
PETER: You studied thermodynamics at Harvard, and went on to the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge to study experimental physics.
OPPENHEIMER: That was a time of being a kid in a candy shop.  I was being provided with tools and means to research what I wanted, to find out the answers I needed.  It was a fantastic time in my life.

Toni comments: He's showing me the world opening, with rainbows and fireworks.

PETER: You had a romantic attachment to Jean Tatlock, who had a strong interest in left-wing causes, and your wife, Kitty, was the widow of Joe Dallet, a communist commissar who had been killed in the Spanish Civil War, and she was also a radical.  Please tell us about these two women and what they meant to you.
OPPENHEIMER: They were my comic relief. They were so different from the theoretical work within the laboratory.  They were both very earthy, concerned with ensnaring people into their causes.  It was taking my passion for science and seeing it directed toward the human.  It allowed me to retain a balance in life.
PETER: You were called "the Father of the Atomic Bomb."
OPPENHEIMER: That was one small paragraph in a very large book, but most saw it as the sledge hammer in the tool box.
PETER: The atomic bomb was a little paragraph?
OPPENHEIMER: As far as all of the work I had done, it was an insignificant part.  It foretold power - as a war tool.  In the future, it will provide fuel for space vehicles.
PETER: Now you are back Home, what do you make of the use of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
OPPENHEIMER: We have no judgment here of right or wrong.
PETER: Help us to understand the physics of being at Home.
OPPENHEIMER: We are the electricity; the vibration that can be perceived around the activity of an atom.  This allows us to be present in your body, if we choose, to be present in the air you breathe, to be present in a book that you are reading, a website you are looking at, the audio you are listening to.

Toni comments: It was a fun, free-flowing interview.  I had the sense that he is an older soul who has now truly grasped the concept of human experience from the soul's perspective.


Talking with Twentieth Century Men
The foregoing are excerpts from Talking with Twentieth Century Men.
If you wish to purchase this book please go to the Celestial Voices website.
If you wish to learn more please go to these websites Messages from the Masters and The Masters' Blog.

Return to Talking with Twentieth Century Men

Home Page


Please click below to learn more about books on Oppenheimer and for a DVD of his trial.