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‘Chasing Oppie’ to be topic of lecture

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By Kirsten Laskey

Many people know parts of Robert Oppenheimer’s story, particularly his time at Los Alamos playing a significant role in the Manhattan Project. There are other parts of Oppenheimer that people are not as conscious of, until now.

Historian Jon Hunner will be discussing these lesser known aspects of Oppenheimer’s life during the upcoming Los Alamos Historical Society’s lecture at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Fuller Lodge. The lecture is free.

He will present what occurred when Oppenheimer first came to New Mexico, and the profound change that the West had upon him.

Hunner said Oppenheimer was born into a privileged family in New York. When he was older, he became very ill and spent a year recuperating from his illness. To ensure Oppenheimer fully recovered, he traveled to New Mexico.

“He loved it out here,” Hunner said.

Oppenheimer was changed; from a sheltered, naïve kid, he transformed into someone who loved to hop on a horse and ride up a mountain in a thunderstorm, Hunner said. It was more than just the landscape; New Mexico exposed Oppenheimer to different cultures, particularly Hispanic and Native American cultures, Hunner said.


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