Oppenheimer: Science, Culture and Politics

By | 23rd July 2023

Christopher Nolan’s film about J Robert Oppenheimer makes for a long evening and requires serious concentration. Cillian Murphy’s performance in the central role is an extraordinary representation of a man tormented by many demons even before his role in the atomic bomb programme…

Such a richly textured film also has footnotes that are worth a little attention in their own right. One is the insertion of quantum physics into a twentieth century cultural milieu as part of a wider revolution in understanding the world. The other is about the relationship between science and politics in a time of crisis….

When the biomedical world became fixated on Covid deaths, how many contemporary politicians weighed these against the likely mortality from untreated cancers and chronic illnesses or the deaths of despair down the line from the social and economic disruption. Truman knew where the buck stopped and was not going to shuffle it off onto anyone else by ‘following the science’. The physicists and engineers had done their job: moral responsibility was what politicians were paid for…

A Social Science Space post

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