50 Quotes by J. Robert Oppenheimer

J. Robert Oppenheimer

Exploring the mind of J. Robert Oppenheimer offers a glimpse into the thoughts of a man who played a pivotal role in science and history. This collection of 50 quotes by Oppenheimer uncovers insights into his perspective on life, science, and the moral complexities of technological advancement.

  1. “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  2. “The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears it is true.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  3. “There are children playing in the streets 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
  4. “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
  5. “Science is not everything, but science is very beautiful.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  6. “Any man whose errors take ten years to correct is quite a man.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  7. “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
  8. “I am become death, the shatterer of worlds.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  9. “The best way to send an idea is to wrap it up in a person.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  10. “No man should escape our universities without knowing how little he knows.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  11. “Knowledge comes from noticing resemblances and recurrences in the events that happen around us.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  12. “We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  13. “To the confusion of our enemies.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  14. “There must be no barriers for freedom of inquiry. 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.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  15. “We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  16. “The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  17. “I need physics more than friends.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  18. “If we are to live together in peace, we must come to know each other better.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  19. “Genius sees the answer before the question.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  20. “The atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  21. “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
  22. “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
  23. “An expert is someone who knows some of the worst life mistakes that can be made in his subject, and how to avoid them.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  24. “We may be drifting into a situation where we would be mortally afraid to use our strength and equally afraid to give it up.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  25. “I think it is a grave danger to the American community to have a subject that is understood by very few and feared by many.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  26. “A scientist cannot hold back innovation because some people are not ready for it.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  27. “The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  28. “Discovery is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  29. “No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  30. “The physicist’s greatest tool is his wastebasket.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  31. “We have made a thing, a most terrible weapon, that has altered abruptly and profoundly the nature of the world… We have made a thing that, by all standards of the world we grew up in, is an evil thing.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  32. “Art and science are not so different; in the pursuit of truth, they enlighten and enrich the human experience.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  33. “The true scientist does not afford the luxury of the right answer, he is the man who poses the right questions.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  34. “It is the business of the future to be dangerous.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  35. “Our job is to remind ourselves that there are more contexts than the one that we’re in — the one that we think is reality.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  36. “I have known despair, and I have known hope. Despair is better. At least despair has truth in it.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  37. “The way to do is to be.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  38. “In the material world, one seeks justification for a hypothesis. In the spiritual world, one seeks enlightenment.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  39. “We cannot put off living until we are ready.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  40. “The true strength of the scientist lies in his ability to explain the complex in simple terms.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  41. “I was not the director of the laboratory for the purpose of the laboratory but for the purpose of the bomb.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  42. “Intelligence is not the ability to store information, but to know where to find it.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  43. “It worked.” (Upon the successful test of the first atomic bomb) – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  44. “The only way to predict the future is to have power to shape the future.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  45. “One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  46. “Security is, I would say, our top priority because for all the exciting things you will be able to do with computers – organizing your lives, staying in touch with people, being creative – if we don’t solve these security problems, then people will hold back.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  47. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  48. “A physicist is just an atom’s way of looking at itself.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  49. “It is not possible to be a scientist unless you believe that the knowledge of the world, and the power which this gives, is a thing which is of intrinsic value to humanity, and that you are using it to help in the spread of knowledge and are willing to take the consequences.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  50. “Man is not made for defeat.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer

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