As part of an ongoing focus on the history of the atomic age, Recursos de Santa Fe will present a program exploring the long and tangled history of the role of J. Robert Oppenheimer as scientific head of the Manhattan Project and the subsequent loss of his security clearance, barring him from the Los Alamos National Laboratory he founded and led.
The discussion is Aug. 8, the anniversary of the atomic bomb drop on Nagasaki. It begins at 6 p.m. in the La Terrazza Ballroom at La Fonda Hotel.
Speakers include Dr. Gregg Herken, who has written extensively on Oppenheimer and has uncovered new information about Oppenheimer’s life in the 1930s; John E. Haynes, expert on the Venona project, which decrypted messages of KGB agents to their operatives in the United States; and legal expert Jim Fitzpatrick, who has worked on getting Oppenheimer’s clearance restored, with no success to date. Valerie Plame, former CIA agent and author on espionage, will moderate the discussion.
“When J. Robert Oppenheimer’s clearance was revoked in 1954, scientists who worked for the government were put on notice that dissent was no longer tolerated,” said Ellen Bradbury Reid, president of Recursos, a nonprofit educational organization in Santa Fe. “The conflict between science and politics, where politics trumped science, is not a new story. This group of experts will bring us new information and perspectives.”
The event is sponsored by Sommer Karnes & Associates. Admission is $10 at the door.