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Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens: Frank Oppenheimer and the World He Made Up

with K.C. Cole

August 10, 2009
51 minutes
K.C. Cole


Filmed at Warwick's in La Jolla, California.

Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens follows the life of Frank Oppenheimer, who grew up, like his brother, to become a physicist and work on the atom bomb, but whose career in physics was destroyed by the Red Scare. After ten years of exile on a Colorado ranch Frank created San Francisco’s Exploratorium, a “museum of human awareness”, which was in many ways his response to the atom bomb. K. C. Cole-a friend and colleague of Frank's for many years-has drawn from letters, documents, and extensive interviews to write a very personal story of the man whose irrepressible spirit would inspire so many.

K.C. Cole is a writer and columnist for the Los Angeles Times as well as a professor at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism. She has been honored with the American Institute of Physics Science Writing prize, the Skeptics' Society Edward R. Murrow Award for Thoughtful Coverage of Scientific Controversies, and the Elizabeth A. Wood Science Writing Award from the American Crystallographic Association, among other awards. Cole has written seven nonfiction books and is also a regular commentator on science issues for KPCC-FM. She has developed and taught courses in science, culture and society as a Fellow at Yale and Wesleyan Universities and as adjunct professor of Science, Society and Communication at UCLA.

Books by K.C. Cole:

Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens: Frank Oppenheimer and the world he made up The Universe and the Teacup: The Mathematics of Truth and Beauty Mind Over Matter: Conversations with the Cosmos The Hole in the Universe: How Scientists Peered over the Edge of Emptiness and Found Everything