The First Electronic Church of America
S A I N T S &
B I R T H D A Y P A G E
John J. Robert Oppenheimer was the man in charge of developing the atomic bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico, the same bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, to end World War II. He was also humane and morally sensitive about the social consequences of the hyperbolic weapons he had created. And, for that reason, after the war was over, he was deemed a threat to the security interests of the United States, and almost ruined by powerful men in the Air Force and their political allies who were themselves caught up in a kind of super-patriotism in the early 1950s, an era called McCarthyism. In fact, Oppenheimer was an intellectual and moral giant. He was born in New York City on April 22, 1904, and was educated at Harvard University and the universities of Cambridge and Gšttingen. After serving with the International Education Board (1928-29), he became a professor of physics at the University of California and the California Institute of Technology (1929-47), where he built up large schools of theoretical physics. He was noted for his contributions relating to the quantum theory, the theory of relativity, cosmic rays, positrons, and neutron stars. During a leave of absence (1943-45), Oppenheimer served as director of the atomic bomb project at Los Alamos, New.Mexico. His leadership and organizational skills earned him the Presidential Medal of Merit in 1946. In 1947 he became director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, N.J., serving there until the year before his death. He was also chairman of the General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission, from 1947 to 1952 and served thereafter as an adviser. In 1954, however, he was suspended from this position on charges that his past association with Communists and so-called fellow travelers made him a poor security risk. This action reflected the political atmosphere of the time, as well as the dislike of some politicians and military figures for Oppenheimer's opposition to development of the hydrogen bomb and his support of arms control; his loyalty was not really in doubt. Subsequently, efforts were made to clear his name, and in 1963 the AEC conferred on him its highest honor, the Enrico Fermi Award. It was a symbolic gesture, an attempt to restore Oppenheimer's good name, after the way he was treated in security hearings by the bureaucrats and politicians -- what Oppenheimer's successor at the AEC termed "a pretty bad show." Oppenheimer devoted his final years to study of the relationship between science and society; he died in Princeton on Feb. 18, 1967.
MODEL: Oppenheimer's moral sensitivity. He was a scientist who brought off one of the most challenging tasks of the 20th century, to build an atom bomb that worked. But he was also a human being who knew what the A-bomb, and the H-bomb, could do: kill millions of people, even end life on earth. He had to speak out.
Your Birthday Today:
Building blocks. If you were born on April 22, you have a talent for establishing structure and systems in family, business, government or other social arenas. Whether it's organizing a birthday party or a city event, you find it very rewarding. You are not, however, a social butterfly, but would rather be left alone. Ruled by the number 4 and the planet Uranus, you often take a minority point of view and arouse antagonism.
In the professional world. Your organizational talents may be financially rewarding but a little frustrating. If you design and launch systems owned by someone else, they may be nitpicky and want things their own way. When it comes to co-workers and subordinates, however, you get along swimmingly, thanks to your down-to-earth nature and strong presence.
Power-tripper. Beware of letting your power get the better of you. Without the proper perspective and objectivity, you can become overbearing, arbitrary and downright unkind. You may be captivated by money and powerful people, imitating their good and bad qualities. Try to be a little more selective in the traits you take on.
Good advice: Let modesty and humility keep your power in check. Remember where you came from. You might try developing your spiritual side and adopting values loftier than money, fame and power.
Also born on this day: Immanuel Kant (German philosopher) Vladimir Lenin (Soviet Union founder) Alexander Kerensky (Russian leader deposed by Lenin) Paul Chambers (jazz bassist) Rita Montalcini (Nobel Prize, nerve growth factor) Kathleen Ferrier (British mezzo-soprano) J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the A-bomb) Jack Nicholson (actor) Charles Mingus (jazz composer, bassist) Bai Yang (Chinese stage actor) Ellen Glasgow (novelist) Peter Frampton (singer, songwriter)