In the telling it has the contours of a creation myth: At a time of great evil and great terror, a small group of scientists, among the world’s greatest minds, secluded themselves in the desert. In secrecy and silence they toiled at their Promethean task. They sought the ultimate weapon, one of such great power as to end not just their war, but all war. They hoped their work would salvage the future. They feared it could end everything.
- Prometheus in the desert: from atom bombs to radio astronomy, New Mexico's scientific legacy
posted by Artw
on Nov 24, 2012 -
The Feynman Files.
For the first time, FBI records for Dr Richard Feynman have been released to the public
. They document the Bureau's apparent obsession in the 1950's with outing him as a communist sympathizer, and include notations from several background checks as well as interviews with his colleagues, friends and acquaintances.
posted by zarq
on Jun 6, 2012 -
Paige Johnson works as a nanotechnology researcher at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma. [...] Her current landscape research is focused on the strange and fascinating story of atomic gardening, a post-war phenomenon in which plants were irradiated in the hopes of producing beneficial mutations.
Pruned talks to Paige Johnson about atomic gardens.
posted by shakespeherian
on Apr 20, 2011 -
"Then the powers that had built the site abandoned it. But the glass endured — a splotchy green circle 200 feet in diameter, dull by night, bright by day, a monument to man's inhumanity to man. This monument was surrounded by a high fence, tight strands of barbed wire, and multilingual warning signs. The gate in the fence was chained with three padlocks — two put there by government agencies — serving as links in the chain. If you got through any of the three, you could gain admission to Trinity Site. And that's what I did. In July, 1951, I entered the site, and I took the glass. Let me explain.
posted by anastasiav
on Oct 20, 2010 -
Lookout Mountain Laboratories (Hollywood, CA) was originally built in 1941 as an air defense station. But after WWII, the US Air Force repurposed it into a secret film studio which operated for 22 years during the Cold War. The studio produced classified movies for all branches of the US Armed Forces, as well as the Atomic Energy Commission, until it was deactivated in 1969. During this time, cameramen, who referred to themselves as "atomic" cinematographers, were hired to shoot footage of atomic bomb tests in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and the South Pacific.
Some of their films have been declassified and can be seen here. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Sep 14, 2010 -
This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with
nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of
casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you
further information as soon as possible.
- The BBC releases
for use in the event of nuclear war
posted by Artw
on Oct 2, 2008 -
The "Nuclear Nav."
On March 11, 1958, Captain Bruce Kulka was the navigator on an Air Force B-47 Stratojet carrying nuclear bombs to an airfield in North Africa. Somewhere over the southeastern US, the captain sent him to back the bomb bay to check on a cockpit warning light. As he climbed through the narrow space around the Mark 6 nuclear bomb,
Kulka grabbed the emergency release pin by mistake. [more inside]
posted by gottabefunky
on Oct 10, 2007 -
If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst forth at once in the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One... I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.
---> part one and Part two
of Operation Crossroads, one of many atomic testing operations conducted during WWII, documented extensively on film and preserved in excellent condition here at the Archive. For further viewing: Operation Ivy
, the testing of the first hydrogen fusion bomb. Operation Cue
(1955 version), testing bomb damage done to housing and infrastructure. Special Delivery
, a look at the preparation and technology, especially planes, used for the testing. Duck and Cover
, a classic safety film from 1951 detailing the best schoolyard response to a nuclear attack. Caution! Interesting, disturbing, and at least an hour's worth of viewing!
posted by BlackLeotardFront
on Sep 29, 2005 -
Libya has pledged to dismantle its atomic weapons program. That is obviously good news, in addition to being a victory for George W. Bush's aggressive foreign policy. But what, exactly, is Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi giving up? Not much... Libya may be closing down its nuclear program because it wasn't working anyway. This points to an important reality about nuclear weapons: they are extremely difficult to make. Claims that bomb plans can be downloaded from the Internet, or that fissile material is easily obtained on the black market and slapped together into an ultimate weapon, seem little more than talk-radio jabber. Nations like Libya that have made determined attempts to obtain atomic munitions have not even come close. If the Bomb Is So Easy to Make, Why Don't More Nations Have It?
posted by y2karl
on Jan 4, 2004 -
This is the 58th Anniversary of the Atomic Age.
The successful Trinity nuclear test was made July 16, 1945, in which a six-kilogram sphere of plutonium, compressed to supercriticality by explosive lenses, exploded over the New Mexico desert with a force equal to approximately 20,000 tons of TNT. The Stafford Memo
(original in PDF
), dated 58 years ago today, is the declassified official report. Outside the use of the weapon in warfare, the risks to humans
posted by Mo Nickels
on Jul 21, 2003 -
J. Robert Oppenheimer, watching the first mushroom cloud rise above the American nuclear test heartbreakingly codenamed Trinity, said: "Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds." Today, a half century after the first use of atomic weapons, in the birthland of the sacred text Oppenheimer quoted, 12 million people could die at once in a nuclear exchange.
Ah, Shiva as each of us...one hand on The Button, the other writing:
"The only way to live humanly - still - is in resistance to war. The prevention of war, in the nuclear age, must be a central purpose of every person's life."
posted by fold_and_mutilate
on May 28, 2002 -