From the Editor-In-Chief
Welcome to the Spring issue of Princeton Magazine, with J. Robert Oppenheimer on the cover. Oppenheimer is known as the father of the atomic bomb and Scientific American lists him as one of the greatest American physicists in history.
Anne Levin’s profile of Oppenheimer is focused on his Princeton years when he was the director at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and includes interesting quotes from residents who interacted with him during that time.
I highly recommend watching a video you can find on the IAS website in which Edward R. Murrow interviews Oppenheimer at the Institute on January 4, 1955. It’s a fascinating glimpse of the scientist puffing on his pipe with a huge computer humming in the background, while he explains a formula on a chalkboard and mentions Albert Einstein and George Kennan.
To learn about the Oppenheimer family today, you can watch a YouTube video with Charles Oppenheimer who is the grandson of J. Robert and founder of the current-day organization The Oppenheimer Project.
Universal Pictures is releasing a movie this summer titled Oppenheimer based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. The film was partially shot at IAS and stars Cillian Murphy along with supporting cast members such as Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, and Emily Blunt.
In addition to the film, this story is timely because the United States Department of Energy recently restored Oppenheimer’s security clearance. The Atomic Energy Commission revoked his security clearance in 1954 when he was a victim of McCarthyism.
It can be challenging to write about nuclear weapons, wars, and politics, but we don’t shy away from those topics. In Stuart Mitchner’s Book Scene, he weaves together his own travel experiences with a thoughtful selection of Russian and Ukrainian literature to help better understand their cultures.
The war in Ukraine and living through the pandemic has reminded many of us that life is fragile and we need to make time for our own personal happiness.
The question of what makes for a happy and fulfilling life is addressed by the authors of the New York Times best-selling book The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness.
The book is based on Harvard University’s Study of Adult Development that began in 1938 and is ongoing. Wendy Greenberg’s article reveals some of the findings discovered during the 85-year-old study concerning the importance of relationships and social fitness.
Good genes are great, but research shows that joy plays a big role in a long, happy life.
These next three stories share common themes about nature and how by following your dreams, you can turn a passion into a career.
Princeton native Peter McCrohan’s interest in growing things began with his third grade teacher when she introduced the class to the wonders of germination as they planted radishes, spinach, and peanuts.
Ilene Dube describes McCrohan’s long journey of studying horticulture, growing flowers in the desert of Arizona, then returning east and purchasing 14 acres in Stockton to establish a flower farm. After clearing the land, rebuilding the greenhouse, and renovating the 1879 farmhouse, McCrohan is a prolific flower grower and a proud steward of preserved land.
In an article written by Taylor Smith, Anjuli Ramos-Busot’s journey from Puerto Rico to becoming the director of the Sierra Club of New Jersey has been driven by her fascination with the natural world and her passion for protecting the environment.
Ramos-Busot says there is an urgent need for cleaner air in New Jersey and shares her expertise on the subject. Along with Gov. Phil Murphy, she is also a proponent of increasing the number of offshore wind farms along the Jersey Shore.
Opponents to the wind turbines say they are responsible for the heartbreakingly high number of whale deaths, but most scientists say there is no connection.
Mary Abitanto’s passion is cooking and she has brought us an article on how to enjoy the spring harvest. She lists the spring vegetables available locally and shares some of her glorious recipes. My personal favorite is her Potato-Crusted Asparagus, Carrot, and Leek Quiche.
If you are looking for some fun spring outings, these next two stories will be of interest.
With the Princeton University Art Museum being closed for renovations, we thought it was a good time to highlight some of the specialty museums in our area. Donald Sanborn provides a wide range of museums offering a rich variety of exhibits about cars, insects, glass, ceramic tiles, and mid-century furniture.
You can also visit a museum that is a retired battleship, one that is a former iron and zinc mine dating back to the 1600s, another that is a former prison, and houses once occupied by Walt Whitman in Camden or Harriet Tubman in Cape May. There is a museum for everyone in this article!
Laurie Pellichero previews this year’s Mansion in May Designer Showhouse and Gardens to make sure we mark this event in our calendars. Attendees will wander the grounds of 17 landscaped areas and enjoy seeing 31 designed spaces inside Three Fields, a historic brick and stone mansion located in Mendham.
Staying on the subject of interior design, I often get asked about where I find the products featured in my Well-Designed Life pages. The answer is I do a lot of research and keep a running list of websites and designers of furniture, lighting, and home accessories.
I’m very drawn to products influenced by nature. A few of my favorites in this issue are the Corbin Bronze Bulb table with leaves, Nicolette Mayer embroidered Cockatoo napkins, and Made Goods organic veneer coffee table that looks like a tree stump.
We live in a global economy, so I also enjoy highlighting designers from around the world. The Tulip dessert plate is designed by the Italian fashion brand La DoubleJ; the ceramic cake stand is from Robert Gordon in Australia; and the Aya chair is designed by Marco Sousa Santos, who is a professor of industrial design in Lisbon, Portugal.
In closing, Bob Hillier and I are happy to report a few changes with Princeton Magazine concerning its format and distribution. We now hand deliver the magazines to every home in Princeton, thanks to our own Witherspoon Media Group carriers, and we have expanded the number of mailed copies in neighboring communities and across Bucks County, Pa. Beginning with the June issue, the format of the magazine will be a more contemporary square shape.
Bob Hillier and I began publishing Princeton Magazine in the Spring of 2009, so this is our 13th anniversary! We look back at the body of work with a great sense of pride and look forward to future issues celebrating Princeton as the cultural center of New Jersey.
Lynn Adams Smith