Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer : Man's Right to Knowledge

Email a Friend

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer discusses why scientific research belongs within the academic setting. He argues that the university provides the atmosphere needed for the scientist to have a supportive community and encourage research to flourish and aid man.

Oppenheimer goes on to discuss the artists and his community. He makes a connection between the populizer of arts to the promoter of science. He discusses the loneliness of the artist, who tries to give meaning and beauty to the changing world.

Oppenheimer speaks about how society and culture have changed and will never return to the way they were in the past. He notes the prevalence of "newness." He discusses how rapidly these changes are happening, and the rapid multiplication of communication and the newness of globalization.

He returns to the theme of the university for both the scientist and the artist. Both need patience, understanding, patronage, and protection from the outside world. Friendships and associations made in the university setting will aid discovery and development. The "super highways" - mass media - do not help, they make us passive watchers of humanity. The artist and scholar create bonds and barriers.

These problems are age-old there is more to know than is able to know, but never before has it been so complex to know that there are so many differences.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 5959
Municipal archives id: LT7426