Oppenheimer & Chomsky
I was taken aback by the penultimate sentence in Dennis Wrong’s review article on Noam Chomsky’s American Power and the New Mandarins (DISSENT January—February 1970). Mr. Wrong writes that “his [Chomsky’s] career as a scientist and his political sensibility remind one of the late J. Robert Oppenheimer.” Whether well-meant or patronizing, Mr. Wrong’s comparison can only mislead your younger readers who know all about Chomsky but for whom Oppenheimer must be a dim figure at best. According to Robert Jungk in his valuable book Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, J. Robert Oppenheimer from the time of his appointment as director of the Los Alamos project (in 1942, Oppenheimer was just 40) did very little original work in physics. He was an excellent organizer and director; he was a public figure on a first-name basis with politicians and generals. I would doubt that he wa...
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