Skip to main content

Holly Springs Chatter

10 Inventors Who Came to Regret Their Creations

Just because someone's invented something, it doesn't mean that they're happy with the end result.

1. J. Robert Oppenheimer / Albert Einstein — The Atomic Bomb

ezgifcom-webp-to-jpgjpg

Photo from iStock.

It's J. Robert Oppenheimer who, as director of the Los Alamos Laboratory during World War II, is credited with the creation of the atomic bomb. But Albert Einstein's work made it possible.

Despite past associations with left wing organizations, Oppenheimer welcomed the opportunity to play a part in the war effort. Later, however, he had mixed feelings about the bomb. "I have no remorse about the making of the bomb… As for how we used it, I understand why it happened and appreciate with what nobility those men with whom I'd worked made their decision. But I do not have the feeling that it was done right. The ultimatum to Japan [the Potsdam Proclamation demanding Japan's surrender] was full of pious platitudes. ...our government should have acted with more foresight and clarity in telling the world and Japan what the bomb meant," he said.

Einstein was less equivocal. Years later he regretted having signed a letter to President Roosevelt urging him to support the research of physicists into nuclear chain reactions and their use as a weapon, because he believed the Germans were already working on it. "Had I known that the Germans would not succeed in producing an atomic bomb," he said, "I would have never lifted a finger."

Find Regretted Inventions #2 through #10 here.