Generations of Oppenheimer

Family of the Lab’s first director visited the museum

September 1, 2023

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Charles Oppenheimer, grandson of J. Robert Oppenheimer, stopped by the Bradbury National Security Research Center

We were pleased to welcome Charles Oppenheimer, the grandson of J. Robert Oppenheimer, to the Bradbury Science Museum on Aug. 11. He and his family were joined by National Security Research Center Director Brye Steeves, Lab Historian Nic Lewis, Bradbury Science Museum Director Linda Deck, and the Bradbury’s Wendy Strohmeyer and NSRC’s Madeline Whitacre, co-creators of “J. Robert Oppenheimer: The Exhibit,” currently on view in the museum’s Tech Lab.

Earlier in the day, Charles participated in a panel discussion for employees at Los Alamos National Laboratory that featured Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, National Nuclear Security Agency Administrator Jill Hruby, and Laboratory Director Thom Mason. Moderated by Lab Historian Alan Carr, the panel discussed J. Robert Oppenheimer’s legacy, the DOE’s order to vacate the 1954 decision to revoke his clearance, and the national laboratories’ impact on global security challenges. Afterwards, the Oppenheimer family made their way to the museum and other sites around Los Alamos.

This was not Charles’ first time at the Bradbury. Having grown up in the region, he previously visited the museum on a field trip in the fourth grade, just like many people with family ties to Los Alamos and the Laboratory. During his recent visit, the family took note of the temporary exhibit centered on his grandfather. He remarked on how the four-leaf clover taped onto the calling card of his grandmother, Kitty, reminded him of the clover at his family’s ranch, and pointed out to his children a who’s who of family members shown in the exhibit’s digitally displayed photographs that provide a glimpse of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s personal life. It was a warm, delightful visit — and not one we will soon forget.

“J. Robert Oppenheimer: The Exhibit” is on view at the Bradbury Science Museum through Oct. 15. Want to deep dive on all things Oppenheimer? Read National Security Science magazine’s Oppenheimer-themed issue.