Steve Sheinkin · 266 pages
Rating: (12.5K votes)
“If you think atomic explosions in Asia wouldn't affect Americans, consider this. A study published in Scientific American in 2010 looked at the probable impact of a "small" nuclear war, one in which India and Pakistan each dropped fifty atomic bombs. The scientists concluded that the explosions would ignite massive firestorms, sending enormous amounts of dust and smoke into the atmosphere. This would block some of the sun's light from reaching the earth, making the planet colder and darker - for about ten years. Farming would collapse, and people all over the globe would starve to death. And that's if only half of one percent of all the atomic bombs on earth were used.
In the end, this is a difficult story to sum up. The making of the atomic bomb is one of history's most amazing examples of teamwork and genius and poise under pressure. But it's also the story of how humans created a weapon capable of wiping our species off the planet. It's a story with no end in sight.
And, like it or not, you're in it.”
“In the end, this is a difficult story to sum up. The making of the atomic bomb is one of history's most amazing examples of teamwork and genius and poise under pressure. But it's also the story of how humans created a weapon capable of wiping our species off the planet. It's a story with no end in sight.
And, like it or not, you're in it.”
“Here at great expense,' [Colonel Groves] moaned to Oppenheimer, 'the government has assembled the world's largest collection of crackpots.”
“A man who is a man goes on until he can go no further—and then goes twice as far.”
“She was too well-trained to panic.”
“Everyone worked day and night, Monday through Saturday. Oppenheimer insisted people take Sundays off to rest and recharge. Scientists fished for trout in nearby streams, or climbed mountains and discussed physics while watching the sunrise. "This is how many discoveries were made," one scientist said.”
“When do I start?" is the most refreshing thing I've heard in this whole war.”
“As evidence, he dug up those flimsy charges the army and FBI had investigated ten years before: that Oppenheimer was secretly a Communist and maybe even a Soviet spy. Strauss devised a plan for taking Oppenheimer down. He’d have the AEC strip Oppenheimer of his security clearance. Without this clearance, Oppenheimer would no longer be allowed to see secret information on the latest atomic weapons research. He couldn’t advise the government, because he wouldn’t know what was going on. Oppenheimer had two options: demand a hearing, or simply walk away. He knew by now that nothing he did or said could stop the arms race. But there was a principle involved—he couldn’t let the charges against him go unchallenged. “This course of action,” he told Strauss, “would mean that I accept and concur in the view that I am not fit to serve this government that I have now served for some twelve years. This I cannot do.” Oppenheimer got his hearing, but it was bogus from the start. Strauss personally picked the panel of judges. The FBI tapped Oppenheimer’s phones and listened in on conversations between him and his attorney. This illegally gathered information was used against Oppenheimer in court.”
“I have the death sentence in seven genres.”
“All right, you caught me. I'm secretly obsessed with you and spend all my free time writing about you in my journal. 'Dear Diary, today Will was an ass for the 467th day in a row. He's so dreamy”
“My wife, who is the linchpin of my life, claims that I have a presence much bigger than my physique. She says that people measure me by the impression I make on them.
I find this notion ludicrous. It is bullshit born of love.”
“I needed something--the distraction of another life--to alleviate fear.”
“In the brain of a madman only the fuming present exists, with its endless shouting urges, paranoid speculations, and grandiose assumptions.”
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