AUTHORSchweber, Silvan S.
TITLEIn the Shadow of the Bomb: Bethe, Oppenheimer, and the Moral Responsbility of the Scientist
PUBLISHERPrinceton University Press
CITYPrinceton, NJ
DATE PUBLISHED2000
ISBN0-691-04989-0


This book is a comparison of the ethical responsibilities and liberal education of Hans Bethe and Robert Oppenheimer. Schweber explores the post-war lives and writings of the two men to show how they dealt with the onset of the nuclear era and how they reacted to the political firestorms of the McCarthy era. The book is not a traditional biography of either man, but rather an analysis of their remarkable similarities and important differences. Oppenheimer’s ambition is contrasted with Bethe’s modesty. Schwerber includes explanations of Oppenheimer’s early research on the evolution of stars, which later evolved as black hole and neutron star theory. The book also emphasizes the non-scientific realms of the education of the two men. Schwerber shows that the humanities foundation that both men received early in their education guided the moral direction of their scientific careers. The 186-page book is thoroughly documented with endnotes and a good bibliography.


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