J. Robert Oppenheimer from NY arrives in Goettingen


Richard Rhodes


Dear Ben:

Thanks for letting me see the script and trailer for “Bomb Squad.” You’ve done an extraordinary job of extracting the essential story, which is inherently dramatic and compelling, from the matrix of science and technology in which it was embedded, and bringing it to life as an animated musical.

I think I know the story of the development of the atomic bomb better than almost anyone who wasn’t a participant himself, since I wrote what seems to be considered the definitive history, my book “The Making of the Atomic Bomb.” I never would have thought it could be done as an animated musical and still remain authentic. You do it and wonderfully well.

Congratulations. I can’t wait to see the completed work. It should find a wide audience. I hope it does.

Richard Rhodes



Dear Mr. Hillman,

I am intrigued by your project on the invention of the atomic bomb. As someone whose job it is to communicate science to the general public, I am always delighted to see new and unusual approaches to engaging an audience. “Bomb Squad” uses humor and irreverence – not to mention some catchy tunes – to bring this extraordinarily important story to life.

It is just this kind of fresh approach – one which entertains as it teaches – that will broaden the reach of informal science education and increase the public’s appreciation of how science and society are woven. “Bomb Squad” does all of this while remaining historically and scientifically accurate – showing us that “dumbing down” need not be an inherent part of making a subject more accessible.

By caricaturing the personalities of the scientists in the :VIanhaltan Project, the characters are humanized in ways not possible in a traditional documentary. By bringing the atoms themselves to life, we understand better how the world works at the subatomic level. And by driving the entire piece with music, we get a clearer view of the crisis that motivated the world’s best minds to make the world’s most destructive weapon.

The next generation of scientists may well hold the fate of the world in their hands, and there is no better story than that of the atomic bomb to illustrate the critical role that science and scientists play in our lives.

I remain available to you for comment or consultation about steps you need or may want to take for the success of the project.

Neil deGrasse Tyson
Astrophysicist & Director
American Museum of Natural History
Hayden Planetarium

“products of Hillman’s creative genius…hold surprising depth.”

– Paul Forman

former Curator of the Modern Physics Collection
National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

“a wonderful product that will entertain and educate”

– Cynthia Kelly

President, Atomic Heritage Foundation

“…bring[s] awareness of the atomic bomb to a new segment
of the population.”

– Robert S. Norris

Author: “Racing for the Bomb: General Leslie R. Groves,
The Manhattan Project’s Indispensable Man”

“getting the science right is a great service to us all.”

– Robert Kirshner

former Clowes Professor of Science
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics