Father of Atom Bomb

Dr. S. S. VERMA; Department of Physics, S.L.I.E.T., Longowal; Distt.-Sangrur (Punjab)-148 106

2020-08-03 16:50:27

J. Robert Oppenheimer (22.04.1904-18.02.1967) (Father of atom bomb). Credit: twitter.com

J. Robert Oppenheimer (22.04.1904-18.02.1967) (Father of atom bomb). Credit: twitter.com

Many countries with nuclear weapons have made the world to be gripped with a fear of nuclear catastrophe in the times to come. There are always people in favor as well as against the pilling of nuclear war heads by the nations.  The first atom bomb was used by USA against Japan in World War-II (1939-45) and there after a race started all over the world to acquire this (atom bomb) devastating weapon of mass destruction in order to prove one supremacy over others.

The great scientist of the century Albert Einstein never worked directly on the development and detonation of atomic bomb is often incorrectly associated with the advent of nuclear weapons. His famous equation E=mc2 explains the energy released in an atomic bomb but doesn't explain how to build one. The father of atom bomb is Physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer who was then the director of Los Alamos laboratory (USA) leading the Manhattan Project and was responsible not only for the development but also for successful detonation of first atom bomb. This individual has an IQ of 195 and while in school, he rarely had to study. In his foreign language classes, if he had time to skim through his textbook before a test, it was all the studying he needed to do to secure an A. He aced the SAT despite falling asleep during the test. Later, he was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. The project was called Manhattan because much of the United States' stockpile of uranium ore was in the city in warehouses or on docks, arriving from the Belgian Congo. This Army establishment was called the “Manhattan Engineer District” after its location.

On July 16, 1945, in a remote desert location near Alamogordo, New Mexico, the first atomic bomb was successfully detonated- called as the Trinity Test which released a mushroom cloud 40,000 feet high.  On witnessing the first detonation of a nuclear weapon on July 16, 1945, a piece of Hindu scripture ran through the mind of J Robert Oppenheimer: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds” which is the most well-known line from the Bhagavad-Gita when Lord Krishna showed his Vishwa Roopa to Arjuna in order to convince, motivate and persuade him to fight the battle of Mahabharata and ushered the era of Atomic Age in the present world. Then, on August 6, 1945, during World War II (1939-45), an American B-29 bomber dropped the world's first deployed atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima wiping out 90 percent of the city and killing 80,000 people. Robert Oppenheimer noted his regret the weapon had not been available in time to use against Nazi Germany.  He and many of the project staff were very upset about the bombing of Nagasaki, as they did not feel the second bomb was necessary from a military point of view. But three days later, the U.S. killed 40,000 people in Nagasaki with another bomb. Tens of thousands more would die from radiation exposure.

After that

After creating the first one, J. Robert Oppenheimer called for international controls on nuclear weapons and “Father of the Atomic Bomb” was blacklisted for opposing H-Bomb. Oppenheimer was more concerned about the devastation that future nuclear war could bring and in late October, he visited President Harry S. Truman, who had okayed the use of both bombs, to talk to him about placing international controls on nuclear weapons. Truman, worried about the prospect of Soviet nuclear development, dismissed him. When Oppenheimer said he felt compelled to act because he had blood on his hands, Truman angrily told the scientist that “the blood is on my hands, let me worry about that” and kicked him out of the Oval Office. Then, Edward Teller, Stanislaw M. Ulam, and other American scientists developed the first hydrogen bomb, which was tested at Enewetak atoll on November 1, 1952. The RDS-220 hydrogen bomb also known as the Tsar Bomba, (Russian: “King of Bombs”) is the biggest and most powerful thermo nuclear bomb ever made. It was exploded by the Soviet Union on 30 October 1961 over Novaya Zemlya Island in the Russian Arctic Sea and the nuclear weapon race is continuing thereafter. Today, Oppenheimer is mostly remembered as a scientist who was persecuted for trying to address the moral problems of his creation. Though there have been some close calls, no country has used nuclear bombs as weapons since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This means that, so far, we’ve been able to avoid the nuclear future Oppenheimer feared he’d already set in motion.

Present status

There are a considerable number of weapons throughout the world, and they pose a serious risk of nuclear war one day. According to Albert Einstein, "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, butWorld War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." This shows that he believed the weapons used in World War III would be so devastating that civilization as we know it would be gone. The present status of growing nuclear arm race all over the world is briefly highlighted here with some figures.

  • According to a report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, nuclear-armed countries are collectively in possession of 13,865 warheads.
  • There has been an overall decrease in the number of nuclear weapons in the world, which may be related to the fact that Russia and the US signed the New START Treaty in April 2010.
  • While the number of nuclear weapons in the world has dropped since last year, those that remain are highly sophisticated and therefore potentially more destructive.
  • According to the Institute, of the 13,865 nuclear weapons estimated in 2019 worldwide, 3,750 are deployed with task forces and nearly 2,000 of them are maintained on high operational alert.

The top nine countries asset of nuclear weapons is as:

1. Russia — 6,500 nuclear warheads, 1,600 of which have been deployed

2. United States — 6,185 nuclear warheads, 1,750 of which have been deployed

3. France — 300 nuclear warheads, 280 of which have been deployed

4. United Kingdom — 200 nuclear warheads, 120 of which have been deployed

5. China — 290 nuclear warheads

6. Pakistan — 150 to 160 nuclear warheads

7. India — 130 to 140 nuclear warheads

8. Israel — 80 to 90 nuclear warheads

9. North Korea — 20 to 30 nuclear warheads


  1. https://www.history.com/news/father-of-the-atomic-bomb-was-blacklisted-for-opposing-h-bomb
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Robert_Oppenheimer
  3. https://www.biography.com/scientist/j-robert-oppenheimer
  4. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/When-Oppenheimer-the-father-of-the-atomic-bomb-quoted-the-Bhagwad-Gita/articleshow/52465022.cms
  5. https://medium.com/cantors-paradise/the-ingenious-eccentric-father-of-the-atomic-bomb-ba012f620454
  6. https://www.wired.co.uk/article/manhattan-project-robert-oppenheimer