Robert Oppenheimer quotes

“Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
― Robert Oppenheimer

 

“In battle, in forest, at the precipice in the mountains,
On the dark great sea, in the midst of javelins and arrows,
In sleep, in confusion, in the depths of shame,
The good deeds a man has done before defend him.”
― Robert Oppenheimer

 

“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty, and to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears it is true. ”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful; they are found because it was possible to find them.”
― Robert Oppenheimer

 

“If the radiance of a thousand suns
Were to burst at once into the sky
That would be like the splendour of the Mighty One…
I am become Death,
The shatterer of worlds.
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. (quoting the Bhagavad-Gita after witnessing the first Nuclear explosion.)”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“When we deny the EVIL within ourselves, we dehumanize ourselves, and we deprive ourselves not only of our own destiny but of any possibility of dealing with the EVIL of others.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“Any man whose errors take ten years to correct is quite a man.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“No man should escape our universities without knowing how little he knows.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“To the confusion of our enemies.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“It is perfectly obvious that the whole world is going to hell. The only possible chance that it might not is that we do not attempt to prevent it from doing so.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“There are no secrets about the world of nature. There are secrets about the thoughts and intentions of men.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“The optimist thinks that this is the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist knows it.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“There are children playing in the street who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“Knowledge cannot be pursued without morality.”
― Robert Oppenheimer

 

“We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to enquire. We know that the wages of secrecy are corruption. We know that in secrecy error, undetected, will flourish and subvert.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

It was a heroic time. It was not the doing of any one man; it involved the collaboration of scores of scientists from many different lands. But from the first to last the deeply creative, subtle and critical spirit of Niels Bohr guided, restrained, deepened and finally transmuted the enterprise.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“Bertrand Russell had given a talk on the then new quantum mechanics, of whose wonders he was most appreciative. He spoke hard and earnestly in the New Lecture Hall. And when he was done, Professor Whitehead, who presided, thanked him for his efforts, and not least for ‘leaving the vast darkness of the subject unobscured’.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“My childhood did not prepare me for the fact that the world is full of cruel and bitter things.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“Mr. President, I have blood on my hands.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“sumeBAccess to the Vedas is the greatest privilege this century may claim over all previous centuries.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“The experience of seeing how our thought and our words and our ideas have been confined by the limitation of our experience is one which is salutary and is in a certain sense good for a man’s morals as well as good for his pleasure. It seems to us [scientists] that this is an opening up of the human spirit , avoiding its provincialism and narrowness.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“Finally, I think we believe that when we see an opportunity , we have the duty to work for the growth of that international community of knowledge and understanding with our colleagues in other lands , with our colleagues in competing, antagonistic, possibly hostile lands, with our colleagues and with others with whom we have any community f interest, any community of professional, of human, of political concern. […] We think of this as our contribution to the making of a world which is varied and cherishes variety, which is free and cherishes freedom, and which is freely changing to adapt to the inevitable needs of change in the twentieth century and all centuries to come, but a world which, with all its variety, freedom, and change, is without nation states armed for war and above all, a world without war.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

“I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

“There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors.”
― Robert Oppenheimer

 

“You put a hard question on the virtue of discipline. What you say is true: I do value it—and I think that you do too—more than for its earthly fruit, proficiency. I think that one can give only a metaphysical ground for this evaluation; but the variety of metaphysics which gave an answer to your question has been very great, the metaphysics themselves very disparate: the bhagavad gita, Ecclesiastes, the Stoa, the beginning of the Laws, Hugo of St Victor, St Thomas, John of the Cross, Spinoza. This very great disparity suggests that the fact that discipline is good for the soul is more fundamental than any of the grounds given for its goodness. I believe that through discipline, though not through discipline alone, we can achieve serenity, and a certain small but precious measure of freedom from the accidents of incarnation, and charity, and that detachment which preserves the world which it renounces. I believe that through discipline we can learn to preserve what is essential to our happiness in more and more adverse circumstances, and to abandon with simplicity what would else have seemed to us indispensable; that we come a little to see the world without the gross distortion of personal desire, and in seeing it so, accept more easily our earthly privation and its earthly horror—But because I believe that the reward of discipline is greater than its immediate objective, I would not have you think that discipline without objective is possible: in its nature discipline involves the subjection of the soul to some perhaps minor end; and that end must be real, if the discipline is not to be factitious. Therefore I think that all things which evoke discipline: study, and our duties to men and to the commonwealth, war, and personal hardship, and even the need for subsistence, ought to be greeted by us with profound gratitude, for only through them can we attain to the least detachment; and only so can we know peace.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

“There are no secrets about the world of nature.
There are secrets about the thoughts and intentions of men.”
-J. Robert Oppenheimer”

 

“The problem of doing justice to the implicit, the imponderable, and the unknown is of course not unique in politics. It is always with us in science, it is with us in the most trivial of personal affairs, and it is one of the great problems of writing and of all forms of art. The means by which it is solved is sometimes called style. It is style which complements affirmation with limitation and with humility; it is style which makes it possible to act effectively, but not absolutely; it is style which, in the domain of foreign policy, enables us to find a harmony between the pursuit of ends essential to us, and the regard for the views, the sensibilities, the aspirations of those to whom the problem may appear in another light; it is style which is the deference that action pays to uncertainty; it is above all style through which power defers to reason.”
― J Robert Oppenheimer

 

A discovery in science, or a new theory, even when it appears most unitary and most all-embracing, deals with some immediate element of novelty or paradox within the framework of far vaster, unanalysed, unarticulated reserves of knowledge, experience, faith, and presupposition. Our progress is narrow; it takes a vast world unchallenged and for granted. This is one reason why, however great the novelty or scope of new discovery, we neither can, nor need, rebuild the house of the mind very rapidly. This is one reason why science, for all its revolutions, is conservative. This is why we will have to accept the fact that no one of us really will ever know very much. This is why we shall have to find comfort in the fact that, taken together, we know more and more.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

Bertrand Russell had given a talk on the then new quantum mechanics, of whose wonders he was most appreciative. He spoke hard and earnestly in the New Lecture Hall. And when he was done, Professor Whitehead, who presided, thanked him for his efforts, and not least for “leaving the vast darkness of the subject unobscured.”
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

Both the man of science and the man of art live always at the edge of mystery, surrounded by it; both always, as to the measure of their creation, have had to do with the harmonization of what is new with what is familiar, with the balance between novelty and synthesis, with the struggle to make partial order in total chaos.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

But when you come right down to it, the reason that we did this job is because it was an organic necessity. If you are a scientist you cannot stop such a thing. If you are a scientist you believe that it is good to find out how the world works; that it is good to find out what the realities are; that it is good to turn over to mankind at large the greatest possible power to control the world and to deal with it according to its lights and values.
Regarding the atomic bomb project.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

Common sense is not wrong in the view that is meaningful, appropriate and necessary to talk about the large objects of our daily experience …. Common sense is wrong only if it insists that what is familiar must reappear in what is unfamiliar.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

Despite the vision and the far-seeing wisdom of our wartime heads of state, the physicists felt a peculiarly intimate responsibility for suggesting, for supporting, and in the end, in large measure, for achieving the realization of atomic weapons. Nor can we forget that these weapons, as they were in fact used, dramatized so mercilessly the inhumanity and evil of modern war. In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

Discovery follows discovery, each both raising and answering questions, each ending a long search, and each providing the new instruments for a new search.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

I am become death, The Shatterer of Worlds.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

I think that the unity we can seek lies really in two things. One is that the knowledge which comes to us at such a terrifyingly, inhumanly rapid rate has some order in it. We are allowed to forget a great deal, as well as to learn. This order is never adequate. The mass of ununderstood things, which cannot be summarized, or wholly ordered, always grows greater; but a great deal does get understood.
The second is simply this: we can have each other to dinner. We ourselves, and with each other by our converse, can create, not an architecture of global scope, but an immense, intricate network of intimacy, illumination, and understanding. Everything cannot be connected with everything in the world we live in. Everything can be connected with anything.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

If atomic bombs are to be added as new weapons to the arsenals of a warring world, or to the arsenals of nations preparing for war, then the time will come when mankind will curse the names of Los Alamos and Hiroshima. The people must unite, or they will perish.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

If the radiance of a thousand suns
Were to burst at once into the sky
That would be like the splendour of the Mighty One …
I am become Death,
The shatterer of worlds.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

It did not take atomic weapons to make man want peace. But the atomic bomb was the turn of the screw. The atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable. It has led us up those last few steps to the mountain pass; and beyond there is a different country.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful; they are found because it was possible to find them.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

Science starts with preconception, with the common culture, and with common sense. It moves on to observation, is marked by the discovery of paradox, and is then concerned with the correction of preconception. It moves then to use these corrections for the designing of further observation and for more refined experiment. And as it moves along this course the nature of the evidence and experience that nourish it becomes more and more unfamiliar; it is not just the language that is strange [to common culture].
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

Taken as a story of human achievement, and human blindness, the discoveries in the sciences are among the great epics.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

The frontiers of science are separated now by long years of study, by specialized vocabularies, arts, techniques, and knowledge from the common heritage even of a most civilized society; and anyone working at the frontier of such science is in that sense a very long way from home, a long way too from the practical arts that were its matrix and origin, as indeed they were of what we today call art.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

The great testimony of history shows how often in fact the development of science has emerged in response to technological and even economic needs, and how in the economy of social effort, science, even of the most abstract and recondite kind, pays for itself again and again in providing the basis for radically new technological developments. In fact, most people—when they think of science as a good thing, when they think of it as worthy of encouragement, when they are willing to see their governments spend substance upon it, when they greatly do honor to men who in science have attained some eminence—have in mind that the conditions of their life have been altered just by such technology, of which they may be reluctant to be deprived.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

The open society, the unrestricted access to knowledge, the unplanned and uninhibited association of men for its furtherance—these are what may make a vast, complex, ever growing, ever changing, ever more specialized and expert technological world, nevertheless a world of human community.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

The powerful notion of entropy, which comes from a very special branch of physics … is certainly useful in the study of communication and quite helpful when applied in the theory of language.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

The scientist is not responsible for the laws of nature, but it is a scientist’s job to find out how these laws operate. It is the scientist’s job to find ways in which these laws can serve the human will. However, it is not the scientist’s job to determine whether a hydrogen bomb should be used. …
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

twelve − 2 =