Atomic Heritage Foundation

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Join Today as an Atomic History Patron Member

Edward Gerjuoy

Edward Gerjuoy (1918-2018) was an American physicist. 

Gerjuoy was a graduate student studying physics at Berkeley under J. Robert Oppenheimer in the years before the outset of the war. Oppenheimer offered Gerjuoy a position working with him at Los Alamos to help the production of the atomic bomb, but Gerjuoy refused because, as a pacifist, he was not comfortable doing war work. 

Oppenheimer accelerated Gerjuoy's Ph.D program immediately after Pearl Harbor and pressured him into receiving the degree earlier than he originally intended. Once Gerjuoy had received the degree, the university cut him off and Gerjuoy found himself in desperate need of work, otherwise he was sure to be drafted into a fighting unit of the military. Gerjuoy approached Oppenheimer about the Los Alamos opportunity, but Oppenheimer rejected him. Instead, Gerjuoy ended up working on sonar and the science of underwater sound for the war effort.


Early Life

Edward Gerjuoy graduated from City College in New York in 1937 and on the advice of his favorite professor, Mark Zemanski, went to Berkeley to study physics and seek out J. Robert Oppenheimer. He worked mainly with Oppenheimer's post-docs and despite his qualifications, was not one of Oppenheimer's favorites. Gerjuoy published two papers and had one in press before he received his Ph.D.


Later Years

After the war, Gerjuoy became a professor of physics at the University of Pittsburgh and continued to research atomic physics. In 1977, Gerjuoy earned a law degree and began to publish a series of papers on the intersections between law and science. His later research was on quantum computing.

You can read three recent American Institute of Physics (AIP) oral history interviews with Gerjuoy here.


Edward Gerjuoy's Timeline

  • 1918 May 19th Born.
  • 1937 Graduated from City College.
  • 1942 Jan Received his Ph.D in physics.

Related Profiles