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The Half-Life of Genius Physicist Raemer Schreiber (2017)

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Schreiber was one of Oppenheimer's brilliant young physicists recruited for the Manhattan Project during World War II. He was entrusted to carry the Plutonium core to Tinian Island where ... See full summary »
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Credited cast:
Jake Hecla Jake Hecla ... Himself
Roger Meade Roger Meade ... Author / Historian
Richard Rhodes Richard Rhodes ... Author / Historian
Ben Saunders Ben Saunders ... Himself
Marge Schreiber Marge Schreiber ... Herself (archive footage)
Raemer Schreiber Raemer Schreiber ... Himself (archive sound)
Sara Schreiber Sara Schreiber ... Herself
Carl Willis Carl Willis ... Himself
Taylor Wilson Taylor Wilson ... Himself


Schreiber was one of Oppenheimer's brilliant young physicists recruited for the Manhattan Project during World War II. He was entrusted to carry the Plutonium core to Tinian Island where he'd assemble the atomic bomb known to history as "Fatman". In the mid-fifties, he was selected to lead the American effort to build powerful nuclear rocket engines in the secrecy of the Nevada desert just miles from the infamous Area 51. The film includes Interviews with Los Alamos historian Roger Meade and Pulitzer Prize-winning Richard Rhodes. As well, nuclear physicist Taylor Wilson and nuclear engineer Carl Willis discuss Schreiber's "rocket science" with project ROVER. The film contains rare footage, artifacts, photos and audio recordings not seen or heard outside of family for decades. Some consider Schreiber atomic royalty. This is his story. Written by John Webb

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An Oregon farmer ends a world war and propels America into the atomic age. See more »




Official Sites:

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Release Date:

17 July 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Half-Life of Genius See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA See more »


Box Office


$245,000 (estimated)
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Raemer Schreiber: After Pearl Harbor what was there for a nuclear physicist to do?
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User Reviews

Cerebral Documentary
12 February 2019 | by larrys3See all my reviews

This cerebral and technical documentary will make you use your brain cells, and probably could have used better editing as it runs nearly 2 hours in length. It focuses on the very important contributions of physicist Raemer Schreiber, who played a vital role in the building of the atomic bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico, and went on to also contribute greatly to scientific projects post WW II, such as nuclear rockets and the hydrogen bomb.

Schreiber was one of the few physicists in the world who had the wherewithal to actually construct an atomic bomb piece by piece. In WW II, as America raced against the Nazis to build the bomb, Schreiber was entrusted to accompany the Plutonium core of the Fat Man bomb to Tinian Island, in the Marianas, which would eventually be the second atomic bomb dropped, this one on Nagasaki, Japan.

Rather fascinating to watch the film and stills of the social events at Los Alamos, for the workers on the Manhattan Project, to relieve their stress. But also quite interesting to note that with each unit sworn to its own secrecy they couldn't discuss any "day at the office" details among each other.

I particularly liked the contributions in the movie from Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Rhodes, who not only is an expert on this subject but has a way of transcribing very technical details into language a layman can understand.

Overall, I certainly learned some new info in this doc but it's not for everyone, as I see it. However for those who like to expand their horizons and, as mentioned, use the old cranium there are rewards to be found here.

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