Frases de Robert Oppenheimer

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Robert Oppenheimer

Data de nascimento: 22. Abril 1904
Data de falecimento: 18. Fevereiro 1967
Outros nomes:Julius Robert Oppenheimer

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Julius Robert Oppenheimer foi um físico norte-americano.

Dirigiu o Projeto Manhattan para o desenvolvimento da bomba atómica, durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial, no Laboratório Nacional de Los Alamos, no Novo México.

Oppenheimer nasceu no seio de uma família judia. Estudou na Ethical Culture Society, onde chegou a realizar uma completa formação tanto em matemáticas e ciências como em literatura grega e francesa.

Filho de um imigrante alemão que enriqueceu com a importação de produtos têxteis, graduou-se na Universidade de Harvard em 1925. Depois mudou-se para o Reino Unido para pesquisar no Laboratório Cavendish, dirigido por Ernest Rutherford. Foi convidado por Max Born para ingressar na Universidade de Göttingen, onde obteve um doutorado em 1927 e conheceu outros físicos eminentes, como Niels Bohr e Paul Dirac. Depois de uma curta visita às universidades de Leiden e Zurique, regressou aos Estados Unidos para dar aulas de física na Universidade de Berkeley e no Instituto de Tecnologia da Califórnia.

No princípio centrou sua atenção nos processos energéticos das partículas subatómicas, incluídos os elétrons, positrons e raios cósmicos. Cedo se envolveu em assuntos políticos, preocupado pelo auge do nazismo na Alemanha. Em 1936 se mostrou partidário dos republicanos depois do estouro da guerra civil espanhola.

Ao herdar a fortuna do pai, falecido em 1937, não perdeu nenhuma oportunidade de subvencionar diversas organizações antifascistas. Decepcionado pelo comportamento dispensado aos cientistas pela ditadura estalinista, terminou por separar-se das associações comunistas a que esteve vinculado. Em 1939 Albert Einstein e Leo Szilard advertiram-no a respeito da terrível ameaça que tinha suposto para a humanidade sobre a possibilidade de que o regime nazista fosse o primeiro a dispor de uma bomba atômica. Oppenheimer começou então a pesquisar tenazmente sobre o processo de obtenção de urânio-235, a partir de mineral de urânio natural, ao mesmo tempo que determinava a massa crítica de urânio requerida para a bomba.

Em 1942 integrou-se ao Projeto Manhattan, destinado a gerir a investigação e o desenvolvimento por parte de cientistas britânicos e estadunidenses da energia nuclear com fins militares. A sede central, o laboratório secreto de Los Alamos, no Novo México, foi eleita pelo próprio Oppenheimer. Depois do sucesso da prova efetuada em Alamogordo, em 1945, se demitiu como diretor do projeto.

Dois anos depois foi eleito presidente da Comissão para a Energia Atômica estadunidense, cargo que exerceu até 1952. Um ano mais tarde, devido a sua antiga vinculação com os comunistas, foi vítima da caça às bruxas de McCarthy, e foi destituído da presidência da comissão. Participou da 8ª e 10ª Conferência de Solvay, e foi presidente da 13ª conferência, em 1964.

Os últimos anos de sua vida foram dedicados à reflexão sobre os problemas surgidos da relação entre a ciência e a sociedade. Morreu de câncer na garganta, aos 62 anos de idade.

== Referências ==

Citações Robert Oppenheimer

„We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism.“

— Robert Oppenheimer
Context: We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to enquire. We know that the wages of secrecy are corruption. We know that in secrecy error, undetected, will flourish and subvert. "Encouragement of Science" (Address at Science Talent Institute, 6 Mar 1950), Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, v.7, #1 (Jan 1951) p. 6-8

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„I believe that through discipline, though not through discipline alone, we can achieve serenity, and a certain small but precious measure of the freedom from the accidents of incarnation, and charity, and that detachment which preserves the world which it renounces.“

— Robert Oppenheimer
Context: I believe that through discipline, though not through discipline alone, we can achieve serenity, and a certain small but precious measure of the freedom from the accidents of incarnation, and charity, and that detachment which preserves the world which it renounces. I believe that through discipline we can learn to preserve what is essential to our happiness in more and more adverse circumstances, and to abandon with simplicity what would else have seemed to us indispensable; that we come a little to see the world without the gross distortion of personal desire, and in seeing it so, accept more easily our earthly privation and its earthly horror — But because I believe that the reward of discipline is greater than its immediate objective, I would not have you think that discipline without objective is possible: in its nature discipline involves the subjection of the soul to some perhaps minor end; and that end must be real, if the discipline is not to be factitious. Therefore I think that all things which evoke discipline: study, and our duties to men and to the commonwealth, war, and personal hardship, and even the need for subsistence, ought to be greeted by us with profound gratitude, for only through them can we attain to the least detachment; and only so can we know peace. Letter to his brother Frank (12 March 1932), published in Robert Oppenheimer : Letters and Recollections (1995) edited by Alice Kimball Smith, p. 155

„If atomic bombs are to be added as new weapons to the arsenals of a warring world, or to the arsenals of the nations preparing for war, then the time will come when mankind will curse the names of Los Alamos and Hiroshima. The people of this world must unite or they will perish.“

— Robert Oppenheimer
Context: It is with appreciation and gratefulness that I accept from you this scroll for the Los Alamos Laboratory, and for the men and women whose work and whose hearts have made it. It is our hope that in years to come we may look at the scroll and all that it signifies, with pride. Today that pride must be tempered by a profound concern. If atomic bombs are to be added as new weapons to the arsenals of a warring world, or to the arsenals of the nations preparing for war, then the time will come when mankind will curse the names of Los Alamos and Hiroshima. The people of this world must unite or they will perish. This war that has ravaged so much of the earth, has written these words. The atomic bomb has spelled them out for all men to understand. Other men have spoken them in other times, and of other wars, of other weapons. They have not prevailed. There are some misled by a false sense of human history, who hold that they will not prevail today. It is not for us to believe that. By our minds we are committed, committed to a world united, before the common peril, in law and in humanity. Acceptance Speech, Army-Navy "Excellence" Award (16 November 1945)

„There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry … There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors.“

— Robert Oppenheimer
Context: There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry … There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. Our political life is also predicated on openness. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it and that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. And we know that as long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost, and science can never regress. As quoted in "J. Robert Oppenheimer" by L. Barnett, in Life, Vol. 7, No. 9, International Edition (24 October 1949), p. 58; sometimes a partial version (the final sentence) is misattributed to Marcel Proust.

„In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.“

— Robert Oppenheimer
Context: Despite the vision and farseeing wisdom of our wartime heads of state, the physicists have felt the peculiarly intimate responsibility for suggesting, for supporting, and in the end, in large measure, for achieving the realization of atomic weapons. Nor can we forget that these weapons, as they were in fact used, dramatized so mercilessly the inhumanity and evil of modern war. In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose. Physics in the Contemporary World, Arthur D. Little Memorial Lecture at M.I.T. (25 November 1947)

„To try to be happy is to try to build a machine with no other specification than that it shall run noiselessly.“

— Robert Oppenheimer
Context: Everyone wants rather to be pleasing to women and that desire is not altogether, though it is very largely, a manifestation of vanity. But one cannot aim to be pleasing to women any more than one can aim to have taste, or beauty of expression, or happiness; for these things are not specific aims which one may learn to attain; they are descriptions of the adequacy of one's living. To try to be happy is to try to build a machine with no other specification than that it shall run noiselessly. Letter to his brother Frank (14 October 1929), published in Robert Oppenheimer : Letters and Recollections (1995) edited by Alice Kimball Smith, p. 136

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„There are children playing in the streets who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.“

— Robert Oppenheimer
Quoted at Vision '65 "New Challenges for Human Communications" (21-23 October 1965) and published in v 65: New Challenges for human communications, Volume 4, International Center for the Typographic Arts, Southern Illinois University (1965), p. 221

„The Optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds, the Pessimist fears it is true.“

— Robert Oppenheimer
This is derived from a statement of James Branch Cabell, in The Silver Stallion (1926) : The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.

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„It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful; they are found because it was possible to find them.“

— Robert Oppenheimer
As quoted in [http://www.math.mun.ca/~edgar/moody.html "Why Curiosity Driven Research?" by Robert V. Moody (17 February 1995)]

„It's not that I don't feel bad about it. It's just that I don't feel worse today than what I felt yesterday.“

— Robert Oppenheimer
Response to question on his feelings about the atomic bombings, while visiting Japan in 1960.

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