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Som om det inte räckte med en uttömmande J. Robert Oppenheimer-biografi (den prisbelönta American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer) så finns det nu en till, författad av Ray Monk betitlad Inside the Centre: The Life of J Robert Oppenheimer. I en nylig intervju med Monk återberättas följande historia, som väl på något vis ska illustrera Oppenheimers exentriska karaktär:

One day in 1925, J Robert Oppenheimer was travelling in a third-class railway carriage to Southampton. The man who within 20 years would become a central figure in the development of quantum physics and world famous as the so-called “father of the atomic bomb” was trying to read a book on thermodynamics. But he couldn’t concentrate because the couple opposite were having sex. “When the man left,” wrote Oppenheimer’s friend Francis Fergusson, “he [Oppenheimer] kissed the woman. She did not seem unduly surprised. But he was at once overcome with remorse, fell on his knees, his feet sprawling, and with many tears begged her pardon.”

The story that Ray Monk relates in his superb new biography of Oppenheimer doesn’t end there: at Southampton station Oppenheimer was standing on some stairs when he saw the woman below and tried to drop his suitcase on her head. He missed.

På Twitter-kontot @OppieTweets (som ska berätta hans liv i 600 tweets) har man just idag kunna följa detta: