An excellent contribution to Messner's Shelf of Biographies shows the author's developing talents as a biographer (see his books on Ralph Bunche and Louis Braille) and sharp profiles both of a great scientist and the science he helped create. An informal yet balanced first chapter, that sets the pace and style for the rest, tells of Oppenheimer today and his work at the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton. The backward glance that follows, at his childhood, his extraordinarily broad interests and talents, his education through his early twenties, conveys the fascination of a personality whose great accomplishments were predictable at the age of seven. It was not science alone that interested Oppenheimer. All through youth, his absorption in history and the arts makes him one of the few fully educated men alive today. New discoveries, professorship at Cal Tech, marriage, the war and the bomb project are the familiar remainder of his story. Mr. Kugelmass parallels this with the development of atomic theory with which they were inextricably bound.