By Bird K., Sherwin M.J.

ISBN-10: 0375726268

ISBN-13: 9780375726262

J. Robert Oppenheimer is among the iconic figures of the 20th century, a super physicist who led the hassle to construct the atomic bomb for his state in a time of struggle, and who later came upon himself confronting the ethical effects of medical growth. during this magisterial, acclaimed biography twenty-five years within the making, Kai chook and Martin Sherwin trap Oppenheimer’s lifestyles and occasions, from his early occupation to his relevant function within the chilly conflict. this is often biography and historical past at its most interesting, riveting and deeply informative.

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Extra info for American Prometheus: The triumph and tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

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A coat-and-tie a¤air, dinner always pleased. A group of students known as “the last of the big spenders” ate steak every night for an extra dollar. Lunches were even better, held in a huge, austere dining hall whose floor was lined with rows of long wooden tables in the English college tradition. Only graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors were admitted, and dress was formal. They sat anywhere, without regard to seniority. Baltimore routinely sat next to Peyton Rous, winner of the 1966 Nobel Prize for his work on cancer, or Fritz Lipmann, winner of the 1953 Nobel Prize for his biochemical elucidation of basic metabolism.

Thomas Hunt Morgan, probably the greatest geneticist of the early twentieth century, built on Mendel’s ideas by using fruit flies (Drosophila) to study hereditary traits. Fruit flies gave quick results because of their short lifespan and rapid breeding: thus genetic experiments could be completed in two weeks instead of the months it took using Mendel’s pea plants, or the years it took with Jackson Lab’s mice. Huge numbers of flies could be stored in mason jars, and Drosophila had plenty of observable genetic traits to be explored, such as eye color, wing shape, and hair length.

Streisinger showed Baltimore how to grow bacterial colonies on a petri dish filled with agar, a gelatinous substance. First the bacteria must be diluted. If bacteria from a flask teeming with growth are poured onto an agar dish, the plate becomes a bacterial lawn, covered with growth. But for bacterial genetics experiments, individual bacterial clones are needed. So the bacterial culture is first diluted one million–fold, and then a small volume of culture, containing between ten and one hundred bacteria, is poured onto an agar dish.

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American Prometheus: The triumph and tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Bird K., Sherwin M.J.


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