Julius Robert Oppenheimer and Aspergers

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CaptainIrate
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28 Jun 2010, 5:21 am

I recently finished a large 11th grade essay over the entire second semester on J. Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the Los Alamos atom bomb project during WWII. So as to complete this project with the highest quality possible, I've read three 300+ page books and one 100+ page book on him (including quite a large number of other materials). Upon reading these books I thought, "Gee, this guy sure does look like he has aspergers syndrome." A number of examples I can recall are as follows: at a young age he developed an extreme obsession with minerals (perseveration?), all his life he would make rude comments only to later realize how rude they were and deeply regret them (lack of social awareness?), many who were not so close described him as introverted and awkward (social anxieties and such?), he often did incredibly daring and outright foolish things such as sailing ships out to sea during terrible storms (poor awareness of dangers?), when talking about something that interests him, such as with general Leslie Groves on his work and his physics classes at Berkeley, he is very enthusiastic (feeling most comfortable talking about interests, sometimes being difficult to stop?), he was very rigid and often was known to keep rules, especially as a child, and not to tattle, but to correct others himself (the oh-so-common rigidity?), and lastly he was very perfectionistic (which I do belive is quite common for those with Aspergers). I feel like I'm forgetting some important things, but you get my point. Even my mother (who holds the occupation of behavioural analyst for autistic people or something like that) mentioned that, while I read her my essay, it sounded like he had Aspergers. She read some of the material in the books and confidently concluded that he did, in fact, have Aspergers syndrome. Anyway, I just wanted to share my discovery and inductive reasoning with everyone. You may discuss this if you wish, provided you know enough about him to do so (only problem is that I don't expect a very sizable amount of people to know much about such a person, but you never know what an aspie might know :lol: )

I just remembered some more things that might have been what was bothering me. He was usually very formal and he often distanced himself from people.



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28 Jun 2010, 5:34 am

But the big question is: he had "clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning"?



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28 Jun 2010, 5:41 am

Great, now we're responsible for the bomb. :lol:


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28 Jun 2010, 5:44 am

Moog wrote:
Great, now we're responsible for the bomb. :lol:
- or to look at another way the saviors of Western democracy and freedom (dont forget Alan Turing too):D


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28 Jun 2010, 5:59 am

I don't have enough facts to diagnose him. I try not to diagnose celebrities, now. Some may have AS, and some may not have it, and you can never tell which ones.


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28 Jun 2010, 9:17 am

Moog wrote:
Great, now we're responsible for the bomb. :lol:


Was also Einstein suspected to be AS ?


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23 Sep 2010, 11:17 pm

I drew the same conclusions at first however Robert Oppenheimer despites his quirks and sometimes brusque styles of communication was widely respected and sought to as a role model on the Los Alamos compound due not just for his contributions to science but for his social skills. He had "NT" skills he was known to be adept in like persuasion and charm; he also known for being natural "diplomat" on the compound, listening to the problems of his workers and always finding ways to comfort them through their problems and find solutions when they conflicted with other areas of the base(I.E. he convinced the the security commander to stop eavesdropping on his workers)



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23 Sep 2010, 11:33 pm

Yeah. Posthumous diagnoses are very problematic.

I haven't read a whole lot about him, but just the fact that he was so capable of influencing so many people causes me to tend to think he most likely did not have AS.

Almost all of the traits you mentioned are not uncommon for geniuses of his level.

I wouldn't say he definitely wasn't AS either though. To me, it really isn't all that important. Everybody loves to have heroes to look up to. Mine is my dad, and the jury is out as to whether he has AS.

Even if he doesn't, he's still my greatest mentor.


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24 Sep 2010, 12:22 am

Psychopompos wrote:
Moog wrote:
Great, now we're responsible for the bomb. :lol:


Was also Einstein suspected to be AS ?


Einstein is indeed suspected to have been AS.

And he (or at least his theory) had something to do with the bomb, didn't he?

Not to worry - the Germans, the Japanese, and the Russians were all working on their own atom bombs, so it's a good thing our guys got it first. I don't know why this fact isn't more widely known. The enemies could've got it first - do you think they would've hesitated to use it against us? Not a chance. They would've used it with glee. Ironically, the Japanese atom bomb development site was located in what is now North Korea. Read a book recently which said that the North Korean regime should really be understood not as communist, but as a close copy of the imperial Japanese fascist system, right down to the hereditary ruler at the top. (Of course, the two economic systems are vastly different - Japan was highly advanced state capitalist, whereas North Korea is a bankrupt feudal/socialist basket case).



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24 Sep 2010, 12:49 am

ThomasL wrote:
And he (or at least his theory) had something to do with the bomb, didn't he?

Not to worry - the Germans, the Japanese, and the Russians were all working on their own atom bombs, so it's a good thing our guys got it first. I don't know why this fact isn't more widely known.


Actually, it is fairly widely known. Probably not as widely known as it should be though.

http://www.doug-long.com/einstein.htm

No Einstein, no bomb. He didn't actually work on the project, but without the Theory of Relativity, there would be no bomb.

The Germans and Russians were both working on the bomb, but I do not believe Japan was. Russia, if you recall, was our ally in the war, but we still wanted to beat them to it, because we knew they wouldn't be allies for long afterward. They knew it too. Germany's atomic program essentially became our atomic program when most of their top scientists ended up here working on ours. Their program fell apart once they lost most of their best scientists.

Albert Speer, Hitler's master architect, dismantled Germany's bomb program in 1942.

http://hubpages.com/hub/World-War-II-Na ... ns-Project


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24 Sep 2010, 1:24 am

The Japanese did indeed have an atomic bomb program - there's even a Wikipedia article about it (and a book, published in 1985 - I think that's where I read about it).

You're right - a lot of people know about the Nazi program, and the Russian, but few know that the Japanese were also trying. This is what I wish more people knew - it sort of puts Hiroshima and Nagasaki in a different light, don't you think? They would've loved to nuke LA and San Francisco and all the rest of the US if things had gone their way.

Here's my big question - maybe you know the answer? Why the HELL didn't the US unite the world between 1945 and 1949, when it was the sole nuclear power? By 1949 Russia had their own, and the Chinese communists took over China that same year. The very next year those two countries started the Korean War by giving Kim Il-Sung the go-ahead to attack South Korea.

All of that was predictable in 1945, when only the US had the bomb. Why on earth didn't we use it against Russia? They were the only force remaining to prevent the unification of the world under relatively enlightened US rule. (Asia and Europe were completely destroyed). Because we didn't, we had to suffer the Cold War and all the hot wars that accompanied it, and now the New Cold War (still against Russia and China), now being fought as proxy wars in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc. I know the US was tired after fighting Germany and Japan, but Russia was even more tired - they were completely destroyed. AND we had the bomb!!

Think of all the lives lost, and all the money wasted, by all the different countries, on all those wars, and on all the nuclear weapons and biological weapons still poised to wipe us all out in a matter of days. The Cold War never ended. All that happened is that Russia retreated a bit, changed its flag, reorganized its economy, and China of course has become immensely richer and stronger. We still face WWIII and total nuclear annihilation of our species. All because the US didn't use its power when it had the chance. Any other power would've done it. But we didn't. Why? It wasn't noble - it was stupid and negligent to the point of being criminal. At least that's how it looks to me. I'm hoping there is a very good explanation as to why the US couldn't unite the world and disband all other armed forces so that no war need ever be fought again.



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24 Sep 2010, 2:41 am

ThomasL wrote:
Why on earth didn't we use it against Russia? They were the only force remaining to prevent the unification of the world under relatively enlightened US rule.


Yes, because nuking everyone you don't like, so that you can take over the entire world, is so much more "enlightened" than what Germany was doing... :roll:



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24 Sep 2010, 3:33 am

It was technically impossible. In 1945 USA had only two bombs and wouldn't have enough time to build enough bombs to destroy USSR.


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24 Sep 2010, 12:55 pm

ThomasL wrote:
The Japanese did indeed have an atomic bomb program - there's even a Wikipedia article about it (and a book, published in 1985 - I think that's where I read about it).


Interesting tidbit I hadn't picked up on until now.

I would address the rest of your post, but I fear I've already done enough to steer the topic off track. That discussion would be better held in the PPR forum anyway.

Sorry to the OP if I threw the thread off.


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ThomasL
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25 Sep 2010, 2:29 am

Invader wrote:
ThomasL wrote:
Why on earth didn't we use it against Russia? They were the only force remaining to prevent the unification of the world under relatively enlightened US rule.


Yes, because nuking everyone you don't like, so that you can take over the entire world, is so much more "enlightened" than what Germany was doing... :roll:


No, that's the wrong way to look at it. It's not a matter of "nuking everyone you don't like". Rather, it's a matter of uniting the world in order to end war once and for all, because with nuclear and biological weapons, war has become an existential threat to our entire species, and it's just a matter of time before that WWIII happens. We're lucky, extremely lucky, that it hasn't happened yet.

Besides that, I think the US has a much more enlightened society than what the Nazis were trying to create. There is no moral equivalence whatsoever. Really, of all the major powers, past and present, the US has to be among the very most enlightened, fair-minded, progressive, tolerant, etc. I know it's not perfect, but still far better than Russia, China, Japan, Germany, or even the old British, French, Dutch, Spanish, etc. empires.