||The unexplored secret of the American Century, the last 100 years of US history, is the rise of American science, specifically physics. At the heart of that story is J. Robert Oppenheimer, leader of the Manhattan Project that built the atomic bomb. He was a man of contradictions: a scientist who discovered black holes and then turned his back on cutting edge research; a gentle liberal humanist responsible for the creation of the first real weapon of mass destruction; a genius who founded "scientific militarism" and then let it destroy him. His life story embodies the great conflicts of American society, its genius, its weaknesses, and even its essential morality. How did an aesthete man uninterested in the acquisition of power become the leader of American science, the most powerful research community in the world? And how did he, with all his intellectual and social advantages, lose his power and become regarded by many as an unfulfilled if not failed scientist. While it is biography of a physicist, it is also a history of the 20th century offering insights into the "scientific militarism" behind events on the world stage today.
DR. DAVID CASSIDY is a Professor in the Natural Science Program at Hofstra University, and has been Chair of the Section for History and Philosophy of Science of the New York Academy of Science. Dr. Cassidy has had an outstanding career as a writer and editor in the history of physics. He has been awarded the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award and the Pfizer Award of the History of Science Society, the latter the highest award in the field. He is also the author of "Einstein and our World "and coauthor of "Scientists at War: The Farm Hall Transcripts."