Mesa Public Library to Host Display of Historic J. Robert Oppenheimer Photographs


The J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee (JROMC) will present an exhibit of historic photos entitled “J. Robert Oppenheimer: Photographs From His Life: 1904 – 1967” at the Mesa Public Library Gallery, 2400 Central Ave. from May 2 to May 30. The public is encouraged to visit the exhibit.

An opening reception will be 4:30-6:30 p.m. May 3, at the Mesa Public Library Gallery upstairs. Refreshments will be served and members of the JROMC will be on hand to answer questions.

Oppenheimer and his mother. Courtesy Photo

The photos and their captions show the full range of Oppenheimer’s life, from early childhood, through his youth, his professional life at Cal Tech, Los Alamos, University of California at Berkeley, and the Institute for Advanced Study which he directed after the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos. The photos show the man at work and at play in such places as his family cabin near Cowles, NM and on St. John, US Virgin Islands where he vacationed and sailed.

The photos and their expertly researched captions reveal the sweep of Oppenheimer’s life, particularly his Los Alamos years and the aftermath of World War II. 

“Reading the captions and being transported back to these key years in American history with this powerful figure, we get a deep sense of his persona and his magnetic personality that attracted his allies (including world leaders) and which apparently enraged his enemies,” said Tom Ribe, a member of the JROMC. “The public can linger with this exhibit for most of an hour and leave with a strong sense of this giant of a man who founded Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (now LANL).”

The exhibit consists of 50 photographs collected by members of the JROMC from a variety of sources including the Oppenheimer family and his colleagues.  The exhibit has been shown at the American Museum of Science and Energy  in Oak Ridge, TN, at the Onate Center in Alcalde, NM, at the Santa Fe Community College, and in Los Alamos.

Oppenheimer and Bradbury. Courtesy Photo

The JROMC was established in 1971 to honor the memory of J. Robert Oppenheimer. The Committee sponsors a community lecture each summer delivered by an internationally important person and the Committee awards scholarships to selected students from high schools in Los Alamos, Pojoaque and Santa Fe. This summer’s lecture will be given by Dr. Alex Filippenko, world renowned astronomer, on August 20 at the Duane Smith Auditorium at 1300 Diamond Drive in Los Alamos, NM.

Oppenheimer & Family. Courtesy Photo

The exhibit will be on view May 3-30 during regular library hours: 

Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday noon-5 p.m. 

Visit the Los Alamos County website for more details:

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