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Robert Oppenheimer, the American theoretical physicist and “father of the atomic bomb”

Born in 1904 in New York to wealthy German-Jewish parents

Appointed in 1942 to head the Manhattan Project’s secret weapons laboratory at Los Alamos, where he worked under conditions of the utmost secrecy to develop the atomic bomb, Oppenheimer was in 1946 awarded President Harry Truman’s medal of merit – the US’s highest civilian decoration

By the early 1950s, in the toxic climate of suspicion and accusation fostered by McCarthyism and the cold war, Oppenheimer’s reputation had been tarnished by accusations of communist associations, un-American activities and even active spying for the Soviet Union during and after the period of the atomic bomb’s development.

the uncovering of Klaus Fuchs as the Los Alamos physicist spy who had passed the bomb’s secrets to the Soviets, fuelled the allegations against Oppenheimer.

In 1954, after three months of humiliating hearings, Oppenheimer was stripped of his security clearance, bringing to an end his career in atomic energy.

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