In July 1945, J. Robert Oppenheimer, a theoretical physicist from UC Berkeley, saw his work on the Manhattan Project culminate with the test of the first nuclear bomb. The genie was let out of the bottle, and, ever since then, world leaders have been trying to put the genie back in … with great difficulty. The new documentary Countdown to Zero, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year, traces the history of the atomic bomb and makes the case for worldwide nuclear disarmament – a timely issue given that the US Senate has been debating the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (aka New START). The “featurette” above, excerpted from the film, gives you a quick and somewhat haunting introduction to Oppenheimer, the man behind the bomb.
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