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J. Robert Oppenheimer: Freedom and Necessity in the Sciences

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What is the purpose of science in society? What role should the general public play in the sciences? J. Robert Oppenheimer answered these questions in a lecture delivered at Dartmouth College on April 14, 1959. This 80-minute speech, which was part of a series of public lectures at the college, will be of interest to students of science as well as students of ethics. The title of his lecture, "Freedom and Necessity in the Sciences," comes from what Oppenheimer saw as the two major motivators of science: the quest to gain knowledge for the sake of knowledge, "freedom"; and the quest to solve a problem, "necessity". On this website, courtesy of Dartmouth College, visitors can download and listen to this lecture in its entirety. Readers will also find a helpful Lecture Summary that outlines the speech and notes the exact times when major subjects and themes are discussed. Readers will also find copies of correspondence between Dartmouth College staff and Oppenheimer himself.
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2017-07-07
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