16 hours ago
Finally, one photograph that is absent from the interesting assortment in American Prometheus can be found in Philippe Halsman's Jump Book, a collection of jumping luminaries the photographer put together in the late fifties. The photo shows Oppenheimer performing his jump in front of a blackboard at the Institute. It is at once a spectacularly uninhibited and absolutely, gravely determined upward leap, one arm raised high above his head (his face peering straight up), the jacket of his elegant three-piece suit flying open, his well-polished black shoes well off the ground. Halsman calls the leap "metaphysically spectacular." It's nice to know that even after the 1954 inquisition that supposedly "broke" him, the director could still reach for the sky. Look closely and you may be able to make out the Langrock label on his open jacket. According to American Prometheus, while most of the Institute's permanent scholars walked around in sports jackets (not to mention Einstein in his old sweater and baggy trousers), Oppenheimer could often be seen wearing expensive suits hand-tailored for him at Langrock's on Nassau Street. It should be added, however, that at least one witness reports occasionally seeing him "in a jacket that looked as if it had been eaten by gerbils."