Science as Action: Rutherford's World
This year's Reith Lecturer is American theoretical physicist Robert Oppenheimer. Professor of Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, he has been described as the "father of the atomic bomb" for his role in the Manhattan Project while Director of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory between 1943–45. In his Reith lectures entitled 'Science and the Common Understanding', he examines the impact of quantum and atomic theory on society.
In his second lecture entitled 'Science as Action: Rutherford's World', Professor Oppenheimer discusses the cumulative character of science. He explores how some theories transcend others and uses the example of Rutherford and the alpha-particle to explain this premise.