The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears it is true.

— J. Robert Oppenheimer

The most unpopular J. Robert Oppenheimer quotes that will add value to your life

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.

69

Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

(quoting the Bhagavad-Gita after witnessing the first Nuclear explosion.)

68

No man should escape our universities without knowing how little he knows.

62

Any man whose errors take ten years to correct is quite a man.

53

This is a world in which each of us, knowing his limitations, knowing the evils of superficiality and the terrors of fatigue, will have to cling to what is close to him, to what he knows, to what he can do. . .

48

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.

44

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.

35

We may be likened to two scorpions in a bottle, each capable of killing the other, but only at the risk of his own life.

34

Science is not everything, but science is very beautiful.

32

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.

21

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.

20

There is something irreversible about acquiring knowledge;

and the simulation of the search for it differs in a most profound way from the reality.

17

About J. Robert Oppenheimer

Quotes 76 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Physicist
Birthday April 22, 1904

The most beautiful philosophical song existing in any known tongue.

17

I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

16

We know that the wages of secrecy are corruption.

We know that in secrecy error, undetected, will flourish and subvert.

14

When you see something that is technically sweet you go ahead and do it.

14

If we ask, for instance, whether the position of the electron remains the same, we must say 'no'; if we ask whether the electron's position changes with time, we must say 'no'; if we ask whether the electron is at rest, we must say 'no'; if we ask whether it is in motion, we must say 'no'.

14

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; The wise grows it under his feet.

13

Pragmatism is an intellectually safe but ultimately sterile philosophy.

12

We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism.

9

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.

9

The physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.

8

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.

8

It is proper to the role of the scientist that he not merely find new truth and communicate it to his fellows, but that he teach, that he try to bring the most honest and intelligible account of new knowledge to all who will try to learn.

7

It is not possible to be a scientist unless you believe that it is good to learn... that it is of the highest value to share your knowledge... with anyone who is interested... that the knowledge of the world, and the power which this gives, is a thing which is of intrinsic value to humanity

7

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.

7

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 inquire. We know that in secrecy error, undetected, will flourish and subvert.

6

The optimist thinks that this is the best of all possible worlds; the pessimist knows it.

5

I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita.

.. "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.

5

I need physics more than friends.

4

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'.

4

The history of science is rich in example of the fruitfulness of bringing two sets of techniques, two sets of ideas, developed in separate contexts for the pursuit of new truth, into touch with one another.

4

To the confusion of our enemies.

4

In a free world, if it is to remain free, we must maintain, with our lives if need be, but surely by our lives, the opportunity for a man to learn anything

3

To try to be happy is to try to build a machine with no other specification than that it shall run noiselessly.

3

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.

3

Today, it is not only that our kings do not know mathematics, but our philosophers do not know mathematics and - to go a step further - our mathematicians do not know mathematics.

3

As long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost and science can never regress.

3

I can't think that it would be terrible of me to say - and it is occasionally true - that I need physics more than friends.

3

Both the man of science and the man of action live always at the edge of mystery, surrounded by it.

3

When all thermonuclear sources of energy are exhausted a sufficiently heavy star will collapse. Unless fission due to rotation, the radiation of mass, or the blowing off of mass by radiation, reduce the star's mass to the order of that of the sun, this contraction will continue indefinitely.

3

Maybe General Groves was right. Maybe we should just banish thinking forever.

3

A man whose errors take ten years to correct is quite a man.

2

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

2

Things which stimulate my curiosity are pretty far removed from the practical and therefore from classification.

1

We hunger for nobility: the rare words and acts that harmonize simplicity and truth.

0

We may anticipate a state of affairs in which two Great Powers will each be in a position to put an end to the civilization and life of the other, though not without risking its own. We may be likened to two scorpions in a bottle, each capable of killing the other, but only at the risk of his own life.

0

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.

0

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.

0
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