J Robert Oppenheimer, known as the “father of the atomic bomb,” worked with a team of physicists as part of the Manhattan Project, which created the world’s first-ever nuclear weapon in 1945. Essential to the story of World War II and the Holocaust, Oppenheimer is the subject of Kai Bird’s Pulitzer Prize–winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, on which Christopher Nolan based his forthcoming film “Oppenheimer.” Kai Bird is joined in conversation by Joseph Kanon, Edgar Award–winning author of Los Alamos, to discuss the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, context of the Manhattan Project and the Cold War, and how Oppenheimer’s legacy remains relevant today. Get all the stories and details ahead of the film’s release.
The books American Prometheus and Los Alamos will be available to purchase at the event, and Bird and Kanon will sign copies after the event.
Kai Bird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and journalist. He is the Executive Director and Distinguished Lecturer of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. His most recent book, The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter, was published in 2021. The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames, was a New York Times best-seller. He chronicled his childhood in the Middle East in his memoir, Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis. He is the author of biographies of John J. McCloy, McGeorge Bundy, and William Bundy. He won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2006 for American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (co-authored with Martin J. Sherwin). His work includes critical writings on the Vietnam War, Hiroshima, nuclear weapons, the Cold War, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the CIA. He won the National Books Critics Circle Award, the Duff Cooper Prize for History, and is the recipient of numerous fellowships. He is an elected member of the prestigious Society of American Historians.
Joseph Kanon is the Edgar Award–winning author of Los Alamos, set during the Manhattan Project. He is also the author of The Berlin Exchange, The Accomplice, Defectors, Leaving Berlin, Istanbul Passage, The Prodigal Spy, Alibi, Stardust, and The Good German, which was made into a major motion picture starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. He lives in New York City.
Doors open at 2:30 p.m. Admission to the Museum’s exhibitions is free with event attendance.