No Relation: Electrical engineer Robert Oppenheimer is not to be confused with J. Ro.
What would it be like to go through life as an engineer with a name that carries powerful associations with the era of nuclear weapons, McCarthyism, and mutual assured destruction? Ask Robert Oppenheimer, an electrical engineer in Hawthorne, NY. No relation to the J. Robert Oppenheimer, he's had to put up with the usual raised eyebrows, wisecracks, and outright disbelief over his name for much of his life. Probably more than his share, given his choice of engineering as a career. "In college I took a course in relativistic physics, and when I signed my name on the exam the professor assumed some student was having fun at his expense," he recalls. "Luckily, he still passed me." These days Robert, who is good humored about it all, says that he gets more questions about the Oppenheimer Funds (no relation there, either) than the A-bomb. Guess the Cold War really is over.
Californiaís plan to mandate an electric vehicle market isnít the first such undertaking and certainly wonít be the last. But as the Golden State ratchets up for its next big step toward zero-emission vehicle status in 2018, it might be wise to consider a bit of history.