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Oppenheimer and Sakharov and the Cold War J Robert Oppenheimer and Andrei Sakharov are both considered leaders of nuclear physics during the World War II and the Cold War The two men had astonishingly similar lives achievements and views on nuclear weapons Andrei Sahkarov 1921-1989 a Soviet nuclear physicist is said to be the father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb and an advocate of human rights In 1948 he was drawn to a top-secret scientific and engineering team that USSR leader Joseph Stalin assigned to develop thermonuclear weapons for the Soviet Union during which he lived in the secluded city Arzamas-16 His work was crucial to the development and testing of first Soviet hydrogen bomb in August 1953 From 1960 to the time of his death he fought for the rights and freedoms that democratic societies encompass like the freedom of speech assembly and emigration which are guaranteed in theory by the Soviet doctrines but denied in practice He used his influence to fight for human rights which ultimately led to his exile J R Oppenheimer 1904-1967 was an American physicist and government adviser who is considered the father of the atomic bomb During the height of World War II Oppenheimer became the director the Los Alamos Laboratories in New Mexico It was there under his leadership that the first atomic bomb was developed and tested in 1945 In 1947 he was appointed director of the Institute of Advanced Studies and chairman of the General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission After the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki he became morally critical of the future development of nuclear weapons and argued for mutual disarmament Consequently he became a target of the Red Scare attackers citing his past associations with Communists During his final years he devoted much of his time to the study of the relationship between science and society Both scientists were at the forefront of nuclear
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