J. Robert Oppenheimer Quotes Page 2
Books by J. Robert Oppenheimer
J. Robert Oppenheimer Sources
- All quotes by J. Robert Oppenheimer (43 quotes)
- The Flying Trapeze (2 quotes)
- Other quotes by J. Robert Oppenheimer (41 quotes)
Best 43 Quotes by J. Robert Oppenheimer – Page 2 of 2
“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.”
“There are no secrets about the world of nature. There are secrets about the thoughts and intentions of men.”
“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.”
“There must be no barriers to 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.”
“To recruit staff, I traveled all over the country talking with people who had been working on one or another aspect of the atomic-energy enterprise and people in radar work, for example, and underwater sound, telling them about the job, the place that we are going to, and enlisting their enthusiasm.”
“To try to become happy is to try to build a machine with no other specifications than it shall run noiselessly.”
“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.”
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“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.”
“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.”
“When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success.
That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”
“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.”
The Flying Trapeze Quotes
“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 of 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.”
“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.”
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“We should remember that science exists only because there are people, and its concepts exist only in the minds of men. Behind these concepts lies the reality which is being revealed to us, but only by the grace of God.”
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