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You can see Oppenheimer’s real bomb test notes at Cambridge event

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J. Robert Oppenheimer’s briefing notes that he compiled while developing the atomic bomb are going on display at an event in Cambridge.

The theoretical physicist’s notes, alongside an eyewitness account of the 1945 detonation of the Trinity test bomb, will be on display at Trinity College’s Wren Library as part of Open Cambridge from Friday September 8 to September 17.

The event is part of the Heritage Open Days scheme, which sees volunteers across England organise events to “celebrate our fantastic history and culture”.


As reported by the BBC, the typed briefing notes from June 1942 by Oppenheimer and his chief aide, John Henry Manly, outline the “fast neutron projects” required in the development of the atomic bomb.

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The eyewitness account, meanwhile, was donated to the college by Otto Frisch, who joined the Manhattan project in 1943 and later became a professor of physics at Cambridge.

The Grade 1 listed Wren Library also houses Isaac Newton’s first edition copy of Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica and A. A. Milne’s manuscript of Winnie-the-Pooh. You can find out more information about the free event here.

Cillian Murphy recently portrayed the physicist in Christopher Nolan’s historical drama Oppenheimer, which has since become the third highest-grossing movie of 2023.

The film, based on the book American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, charts the physicist’s career across his studies, his direction of the Manhattan Project, and his later fall from grace following the 1954 security hearing by the Atomic Energy Commission.


Other cast members include Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Josh Hartnett, Casey Affleck and Rami Malek.

In a five-star review, NME wrote: “Not just the definitive account of the man behind the atom bomb, Oppenheimer is a monumental achievement in grown-up filmmaking.”

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