Monday, May 08, 2006

Dr. Baltar

I have been reading Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin's biography of Robert Oppenheimer, American Prometheus. I somehow love reading books about atom-bomb physicists; I read James Gleick's biography of Richard Feynman at least twice, and I am not a re-reader. Maybe I'm drawn by the fact that I don't understand much about the science, so there's less at stake for me than, say, reading about a famous author. I can still admire the scientist's passion and dedication without feeling inferior. I seem to be able to suspend judgment on what it meant for these guys, often like Oppenheimer politically and socially liberal, to work on the bomb. There's something thrilling about the name Los Alamos (and we've visited this lovely, oddly sterile community), even though what came out of it is appalling.

Trev says Oppenheimer reminds him of Dr. Baltar on Battlestar Galactica--a brilliant, chattery, occasionally crazed, basically good guy who ends up bringing great evil into the world.

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