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Re^12: Organizational Culture (Part VII): Science

by eyepopslikeamosquito (Bishop)
on Sep 21, 2021 at 02:00 UTC ( #11136902=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^11: Organizational Culture (Part VII): Science
in thread Organizational Culture (Part VII): Science

> the General (Colonel?) is flabbergasted to find out that Oppenheimer has a Christmas tree in his living room ... xD

Well, you seem to be in the right place to know about Christmas Trees:

Modern Christmas trees emerged in western Germany during the 16th century as Christians brought trees into their homes and decorated them with gingerbread, nuts and apples

Imagining LanX now, wearing Lederhosen, while eating gingerbread and apples under the Christmas tree. Sorry, couldn't resist. :) Do you ever wear Lederhosen BTW?

> the mini-series is available on youtube

Thanks! Watching now. Near the end of Episode 3 (at the 53:55 minute mark) there's a conversation between General Groves and Oppie in Oppie's new Los Alamos office:

Groves: I was wondering, do you actually celebrate Christmas? well, I mean you being different, well, Jewish?
Oppie: We have a tree
Groves: Good, I was wondering if you'd put that under it for me? (he hands Oppie a Christmas present)

LanX, is that the scene you remembered?

This mini-series lays bare the stark difference between Scientific and Military Culture ... hmmmm, given my first job was in Defence Science (where I experienced both cultures first hand), the logical next episode in this series seems to be Military Organizational Culture. :)

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Re^13: Organizational Culture (Part VII): Science
by LanX (Sage) on Sep 21, 2021 at 11:06 UTC
    > LanX, is that the scene you remembered?

    well misremembered. my memory must have it mingled with a similar scene from another film.

    > This mini-series lays bare the stark difference

    it covers many moral and philosophical questions, IMHO not so much physics.

    It might be interesting that the first dramatization (I'm aware of) was done for German TV/theater in 1964 -> In der Sache J. Robert Oppenheimer

    But this centers more around the McCarthy like process.

    I also found various interesting interviews and talkshows with Teller in English and German, not sure if his portrayal is always fair.

    I think his accent and bushy eyebrows helps painting him as a villain...

    > Do you ever wear Lederhosen BTW?

    Whenever I am on Heligoland.

    What about you? Do you bring your didgeridoo along when hunting crocodiles? :)

    Cheers Rolf
    (addicted to the Perl Programming Language :)
    Wikisyntax for the Monastery

      > it covers many moral and philosophical questions, IMHO not so much physics

      Yes, viewing it again today after so many years, that is how I felt too! Some relevant Oppie quotes:

      • "I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita…‘I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.’"
      • "In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humour, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose."
      • "When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb."

      This old mini-series also highlighted some thorny organizational issues: doing physics at industrial scale; managing tens of physicists vs thousands of them. The Manhattan Project may have been the first time anyone attempted physics at industrial scale. Lessons learnt there may have helped the Apollo program ... though were perhaps forgotten by the ill-fated Space Shuttle program. Not so different from issues faced by small software companies vs huge ones, touched on here.

      > Do you bring your didgeridoo along when hunting crocodiles? :)

      Ha ha! I've never attempted to play the Didgeridoo ... the only time I see it played is when strolling around tourist districts, especially Circular Quay. As for hunting crocodiles, I've never visited the Northern Territory or far north Queensland ... though was planning to do so before Covid torpedoed my holiday plans.

      Update: The 5th episode (around 54:10) depicts the reaction of the Los Alamos team to the news of the successful bombing of Japan. At first, everyone is jubilant, cheering ecstatically, Oppie given a hero's welcome ... after images of women and children being treated for horrific burns appear on the screen, the mood changes dramatically from jubilation to despair. Unlike the scientists, General Groves remains happy, asking Oppie what's wrong. His reply: "I feel we've got blood on our hands".

      Further update (related to the opening paragraph of Organizational Culture (Part VI): Sociology): In the 1st episode around the 46:40 mark Oppie complains that, at 35 years of age, it is "too late" for him as a physicist! His date is shocked, refuses to believe him. Oppie's reply: "Do you know what the optimum age for a theoretical physicist is? About 27!"

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