I am become Death, the shatterer of worlds.
-- Oppenheimer, quoting the Bhagavad Gita upon witnessing the first artificial atomic detonation

It's a little-known fact that Oppenheimer's first love in physics was not particle theory, as such, but gravitation, and published the first papers that explained the theoretical bases of neutron stars and black holes. I've often wondered what would have happened if he'd stopped smoking cigarettes (the cause of the cancer that killed him) and held on for a few more years. He and Stephen Hawking (or Carl Sagan) would have made an interesting pair, and his artistic/philosophical leanings and notoriously fine-tuned sensorium (he was one of the first notable Americans to have a passion for then-obscure Asian food --Nasi Goreng was a favorite--among other things) would have been right at home in the Seventies.