Letters to the Editor: ‘Oppenheimer’ doesn’t breed fatalism

A figure in silhouette stands next to the atomic bomb
Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer in Christopher Nolan’s film.
(Universal Pictures)

To the editor: Having just seen the movie “Oppenheimer,” I was surprised to read the op-ed piece in the Aug. 3 Times. The movie is about a troubled genius who worked on developing an atomic bomb as rapidly as possible, knowing that Hitler had scientists in Germany advancing toward the same goal. Oppenheimer and the scientists he gathered at Los Alamos succeeded in their goal and the bomb did bring about an end to the Japanese theater of World War II.

The movie was clear about Oppenheimer, the man, suffering some guilt about the power he had unleashed. But in no way does the movie “breed fatalism,” the charge made by Wilson.

Joyce Mason, Fullerton



To the editor: Ward Hayes Wilson’s article was interesting, but it left out one important factor: nuclear winter.

Nuclear war would burn cities producing massive amounts of smoke. That smoke would rise into the upper atmosphere and last for years, making it cold and dark at Earth’s surface. Our work shows that a U.S.-Russia nuclear war could lead to famine for more than 5 billion people, many in the Southern Hemisphere. Even though there are no nuclear weapons there and probably few targets, they will suffer from famine if nuclear weapons are used. This motivated 122 nations to enact a UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017 to demand that the nine nuclear states give up their nuclear weapons.

Oppenheimer did not know about nuclear winter, but now that we do, this needs to motivate us to demand the end of nuclear weapons.

Alan Robock, Manasquan, N.J.

The writer is a professor at Rutgers University.