J. Robert Oppenheimer, was dubbed the "father of the atomic bomb." He directed the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where the bomb was developed. Oppenheimer, who came from an affluent, assimilated Jewish family, had a complicated relationship with his Judaism. He was avowedly assimilated, despite the fact that antisemitism dogged him throughout his academic career, beginning at Harvard, which, beginning in 1922, the year he matriculated, began asking applicants to disclose their religion in an effort to curb the number of Jewish students. Always keenly concerned with issues of ethics and morality, it was the Holocaust awakened Oppenheimer's identification with the Jewish people. Indeed, that was a motivating force behind his commitment to develop the bomb before the Nazis did. The article discusses Oppenheimer's misgivings about the arms race that would ensue and became a vocal opponent of the nuclear arms race and may well have been behind his losing his security clearance. Click on the link to read the article.
Isaac Asimov was a science fiction writer and a biochemist. Asimov coined the term "robotics," which he used in his science fiction works. The robot characters in Asimov's science fiction were supposed to obey "The Three Laws of Robotics." This blog entry discusses these three laws as well as Asimov's literary and academic career. Click on the link above to read this blog entry.
(NobelPrize.org, 1992-10-12) The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
This press release from the The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences explains the reasons that they awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Rudolph A. Marcus, a Canadian-American Jewish scientist. Click on the link above to access the press release. Click on See Also link to access Marcus' autobiographical essay.
"The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1992 was awarded to Rudolph A. Marcus 'for his contributions to the theory of electron transfer reactions in chemical systems.'" Click on the link above to read this autobiographical essay originally written at the time of the award.
Nobel lecture presented by Sidney Altman when he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which he shared with Thomas R. Cech in 1989. They were awarded the Nobel Prize for the work they did on the catalytic properties of RNA. Click on the icon to read the lecture.