J. Robert Oppenheimer, Award Winning Nuclear Physicist, Dead at 62

J. Robert Oppenheimer, the American Jewish physicist who was officially credited with being the “father of the atomic bomb,” died at his home here last night at the age of 62. He had been ailing since early last year with cancer of the throat.

Dr. Oppenheimer received the Presidential citation and a Medal of Merit for his role in the development of the atomic bomb which, in the words of the wartime Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, was “largely due to his genius and the inspiration and leadership he has given to his colleagues.”

In 1954, he was stripped of his security clearance by the Atomic Energy Commission because of his alleged association with Communists. The same agency, however, nine years later awarded Dr. Oppenheimer the $50,000 Fermi award for “his outstanding contributions to theoretical physics and his scientific and administrative leadership.” President Johnson himself presented the award to Dr. Oppenheimer.

Born in New York City, the son of a textile merchant who emigrated from Germany, Dr. Oppenheimer in later life attributed his active interest in social affairs to “a continuing smoldering fury about the treatment of Jews in Germany.” He later helped rescue a number of relatives from the Nazi holocaust, and bring them to the United States. He served as professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton since 1947.

Dr. Oppenheimer was actively associated with the Weizmann Institute of Science at Rehovot, Israel from its inception. He dedicated the Weizmann Institute of Nuclear Science in 1958; was an honorary Fellow of the Weizmann Institute, and a member of its board of governors.

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