As a young man Frank Oppenheimer followed in his famous brother's footsteps growing up in a privileged Manhattan household, becoming a physicist, working on the atomic bomb. Tragically, Frank and Robert both had their careers destroyed by the Red Scare. But their paths diverged. While Robert died an almost ruined man, Frank came into his own, emerging from ten years of exile on a Colorado ranch to create not just a multimillion dollar institution but also a revolution that was felt all over the world. His Exploratorium was a "museum of human awareness" that combined art and science while it encouraged play, experimentation, and a sense of joy and wonder; its success inspired a transformation in museums around the globe. In many ways it was Frank's answer to the atom bomb. K.C. Cole a friend and colleague of Frank's for many years has drawn from letters, documents, and extensive interviews to write a very personal story of the man whose irrepressible spirit would inspire so many.
A Look Inside Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens
(Click on Images to Enlarge)
From Publishers Weekly
Many visitors to the world-famous Exploratorium in San Francisco probably know little about its founder, Frank Oppenheimer (1912–1985). Like his brother, physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, Frank both worked on the Manhattan Project and was a victim of the 1950s Red Scare. Blacklisted and unable to find a university professorship, he taught high school in Colorado, turning out scores of science prize winners. After moving to California, Oppenheimer drew on his teaching experience to found the Exploratorium, a hands-on science museum that continues to influence others in the field. In this fond memoir, well-regarded science writer Cole (The Universe and the Teacup
), who knew Oppenheimer well, capably surveys his early career, but the book's true subject is his work at the Exploratorium and his philosophy, not just of science education but of life. This constitutes most of the second half of the book, which may frustrate readers looking for pure biography, but it offers much that is provocative for those interested in science education. 8 pages of b&w photos.(Aug. 4)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.