J. Robert Oppenheimer
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1904
Date of Death: 1967
Cause of Death: Throat cancer
Religion: Judaism
Occupation: Physicist, Author
Spouse: Kitty Harrison
Children: Peter, Katherine
Professional Affiliations: Manhattan Project
Turtledove Appearances:
Joe Steele
POD: 1878;
Relevant POD: July, 1932
Novel or Story?: Both
Type of Appearance: Posthumous references
Date of Death: 1946
Cause of Death: Execution by firing squad
Julius Robert Openheimer (April 22, 1904 – February 18, 1967) was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is best known for his role as the scientific director of the Manhattan Project, the World War II effort to develop the first nuclear weapons at the secret in New Mexico. For this reason he is remembered as "The Father of the Atomic Bomb". His anti-proliferation stance and his ties to Communism in his youth led to his fall-from-grace in the political arena.

J. Robert Oppenheimer in Joe Steele

J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904–1946) was one of several scientists rounded up and executed on the orders of President Joe Steele after it was learned that Albert Einstein had deliberately withheld the idea of the atomic bomb from the United States.[1]

Literary comment

J. Robert Oppenheimer meets the same fate in the short story. However, in the short, the round up of scientists is the more explicitly anti-Semitic "Professors' Plot", whereas the novel makes the round-up more ambiguous in its anti-Semitism and does not reference a "plot".


  1. Joe Steele, pg. 392.