Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy

J. Robert Oppenheimer 1904-1967

Known as "the father of the atomic bomb," theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer served as scientific director of the top-secret Manhattan Project, the World War II effort to develop nuclear weapons. Oppenheimer witnessed the first test of the atomic bomb near Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945, and later gained renown as an advocate for the international control of atomic energy. As chairman of the General Advisory Committee to the Atomic Energy Commission from 1947 to 1952, he strongly opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb. He was director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton from 1947 to 1966.