On guilt and redemption
Albert Einstein: When they’ve punished you enough, they’ll serve you salmon and potato salad, make speeches, give you a medal, pat you on the back, tell you all is forgiven. Just remember, it won’t be for you. It will be for them.
On self-awareness and humility
Senate Aide: Is it possible they didn’t talk about you at all. Is it possible they talked about something more important?
On written history versus truth
J. Robert Oppenheimer: Is anyone ever going to tell the truth about what’s happening here?
On honesty and relationships
J. Robert Oppenheimer: Are you married?
Kitty Oppenheimer: Not very much.
On courage and determination
Leslie Groves: A Nobel Prize for making a bomb?
J. Robert Oppenheimer: Alfred Nobel invented dynamite.
On naivety versus realism
J. Robert Oppenheimer: They need us.
Luis Alvarez: Until they don’t.
On the price of stardom and fame
Haakon Chevalier: Do stars die?
J. Robert Oppenheimer: Well, if they do, they’d cool, then collapse. In fact, the bigger the star, the more violent its demise. Their gravity gets so concentrated, it swallows everything.
On understanding politics
J. Robert Oppenheimer: Why would they care what I do?
Ernest Lawrence: Because you’re not just self-important, you’re actually important.
On nature as an escape
Kurt Gödel: Trees are the most inspiring structures.
On seeing through people
Kitty Oppenheimer: The truly vindictive are patient as saints.
On life’s many contradictions
J. Robert Oppenheimer: It’s a paradox, but it works.