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Kai Bird on J. Robert Oppenheimer’s legacy

The celebrated biographer of Oppenheimer discusses the brilliant physicist’s triumph and tragedy

All of us live under the constant threat of nuclear annihilation.

The promise of mutually assured destruction has been an effective deterrent since the first — and only — time nuclear weapons were used in war. But lately, in these turbulent times, the nuclear specter again looms large.

Last summer’s blockbuster film “Oppenhiemer,” about the father of the atomic bomb, reignited public moral debate about weapons of mass destruction and reminded us that the very technological breakthroughs that have liberated humanity and brought so many gifts to modern life can also lead to the destruction of everything.

When I saw “Oppenheimer” this summer, I was inspired to read the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, “American Prometheus,” upon which Christopher Nolan’s screenplay was based. Today on my podcast, I’m joined by the book’s co-author, celebrated biographer Kai Bird, to discuss J. Robert Oppenheimer’s life and legacy.

About ‘In These Times with Rabbi Ammi Hirsch’: Every other week, Rabbi Ammi Hirsch hosts intellectually honest conversations unpacking current events through the lens of Jewish wisdom. Unbound by politics and untethered by party lines, Ammi and his expert guests discuss everything from race and antisemitism to all the other issues that keep you up at night. Recorded from New York’s Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, a historic Reform congregation deeply rooted in liberalism, support for Israel and social justice.

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