Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece, begins by showing us a younger version of the scientist. We see how the boy became upset while studying at Cambridge. He was in another country, he didn’t seem to have any friends, and on top of that he wasn’t a very good student.. In a moment of youthful rage, he decides to take a syringe and inject cyanide into an apple, then place it on the desk of his teacher, the physicist who would later win the Nobel Prize for cosmic ray research, Patrick Blackett.

The decision to begin Oppenheimer’s story at this moment was brilliant. Because the absurd situation symbolizes the moral conflict that will subsequently torment the great physicist. He initially decides to make a drastic, potentially life-threatening decision, but later regrets his actions.. He runs to class and sees his teacher talking to his idol, Niels Bohr. The young man watches in horror as the legendary scientist almost takes a bite of the poisoned apple, until he finally stops him.

Christopher Nolan’s epic film doesn’t have time to delve into Oppenheimer’s youth. Cuts immediately to the moment when the physicist achieves academic success in Göttingen. While it was fitting for the film’s breakneck pace, audiences never learned how close Oppenheimer was to complete madness while studying in England or how close he came to going to prison. The story is taken from the book on which the film is based, American Prometheus.

Oppenheimer’s childhood

The genius of J. Robert Oppenheimer was evident from the very beginning of his life. From childhood, his bohemian millionaire parents taught him to love knowledge. He received an excellent education at the Fieldston School of Ethical Culture. Lessons in morality, literature and science. Therefore, his interests have always been varied. Unlike his fellow physicists, who didn’t seem to care about anything else, Oppenheimer was well versed in world literature, politics and philosophy..

Because he was Jewish and also more sensitive than the rest of his classmates, he constantly became a victim of school bullies. One day during camp His classmates stripped him naked, painted his genitals with green paint and locked him in a freezer., you’ll have to spend the night there. When he was released the next morning, the boy walked out stoically, without complaints or protests.

During his adolescence and early adulthood, he had to confront his social incompetence. He was a loner who was sexually frustrated.. Despite this, his academic performance both at school and later at Harvard was always excellent. He had no shortage of friends, but he was prone to fits of melancholy and sudden despair.

“Atoms understand me.”

His nervous breakdown in Cambridge

In the 1920s, Europe was the center of world physics. All the great discoveries of quantum physics, the new science, came from this continent. That is why Oppenheimer had to continue his studies there. After his first choice was rejected, he was relieved when he received the opportunity to study at the Cavendish Laboratory.

Away from his group of Harvard friends and family, Robert was unable to make new friends in England. Not only was he out of his comfort zone socially, but he also hated working in the lab.. He simply couldn’t do it, he was clumsy with utensils and failed at even the simplest processes.

These factors led to his nervous breakdown. Classmate Jeffries Wyman claims that he once entered his room only to find Oppenheimer lying on the ground, groaning, rolling from side to side. Others saw him collapse on the laboratory floor.

One of the strangest stories of the time tells that Oppenheimer was in third class on a train. A couple next to him was kissing and touching while he tried to read about thermodynamics. When the man disappeared for a moment, Robert kissed the woman.. Full of remorse, he fell to his knees and tearfully begged her to forgive him. Later (it is unknown whether the young physicist hallucinated this detail or it really happened), arriving at the station and going down the stairs on the way to the exit, Oppenheimer saw the woman again, without hesitation, he pointed at her. .head and threw a suitcase at him, but, fortunately, it missed the target.

Who hasn’t something like this happened to?

It was during this time that the infamous apple incident occurred. We don’t have details about what happened. What we do know is that the incident was taken so seriously that Julius, Oppenheimer’s father, who was visiting when it happened, had to use all his influence to convince both the university and the police. that his son did not pose a danger to others and therefore there was no need to press charges. He was only temporarily suspended from university studies, subject to psychiatric treatment.

And now we come to the most serious incident of all, which was omitted from the film so that the audience would not think that the main character was a complete psychopath. Oppenheimer’s best friend at the time, Francis Fergusson, visited him in 1926 at a Paris hotel. He noticed that Robert was acting strange. To relieve the tension, Francis decided to show him a poem his girlfriend wrote to him. Then he gave her a surprise that he was going to marry her. Robert was shocked. When his friend leaned over to pick up the book, Oppenheimer rushed at him from behind, tying a belt around his neck.. After a struggle, the young man fell to the ground and began to cry.

By empathizing with your friend’s emotional state, instead of cutting him out of your life, as most people would do, Fergusson, in his infinite patience, forgave him. and kept in touch with him during that difficult period.

It is amazing to see how such a brilliant mind could survive so many embarrassing and dangerous incidents. His melancholy was apparently softened by Marcel Proust’s novel In Search of Lost Time. The therapy didn’t do him much good: one of the psychiatrists diagnosed him with a moral crisis and suggested that what he really needed was sex. It seems that he was able to calm his feelings by reading this classic book, because after reading it during a trip to the island of Corsica, Oppenheimer seemed to have regained the confidence and charm he had gained at Harvard., but lost in Cambridge. Be that as it may, fate has reserved a place for him as one of the most important people in all of history.

Source: Hiper Textual

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