Overheard in New Mexico
Lunchtime at the
J. Robert Oppenheimer: Hey, listen. Remember last week, at the test, when I yelled out “holey shmoley!” during the explosion?
Richard Feynman: Yeah, yeah. Me and a few of the guys been saying how that was a weird thing to just yell out.
Oppenheimer: Right. Well, I was thinking. Maybe, from here on out, if anyone asks you what I said, you say it was, “I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.”
Feynman: What’s that?
Oppenheimer: Well, I mean, I’m just thinking how maybe “holey shmoley” doesn’t do the, uh, event justice. I mean, you know, world’s first nuclear explosion and all. Maybe if posterity were to record something a bit more… memorable, say, something from an ancient Sanskrit text, that would work best for all involved.
Feynman: Yeah, sure thing.
Oppenheimer: So, “I am become Death, destroyer of worlds” it is, right?
Feynman: Whatever you say, Bob.