Einstein and Oppenheimer

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photographs bring together two generations of world-renowned physicists at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where J. Robert Oppenheimer accepted the position of director in 1947. Under Oppenheimer’s leadership, the institute became a leading center for theoretical physics. Albert Einstein had been a scholar-in-residence at the institute since 1933, after fleeing Nazi Germany and renouncing his German citizenship. Einstein transformed the world of physics with his theory of relativity and work in quantum mechanics. On the basis of Einstein’s recommendation, President Franklin D. Roosevelt convened a board to investigate the possibilities of using a nuclear chain reaction as an atom bomb. Oppenheimer directed the Manhattan Project, which developed and detonated the first atomic bomb in the desert outside of Alamogordo, New Mexico.