Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day 26: 63 years ago today

Nuclear test, July 14, 1962 (almost twenty years after the first) at the Nevada Test Site.
credit: Department of Energy

July 16, 1945 marked the "Dawn of the Nuclear Age."

My mother just reminded me about today's anniversary. Sixty three years ago the first nuclear test occurred at the Trinity Site, NM.

She also sent me this quote:

"Soon shock and euphoria gave way to more sober reflections. Rabi reported that after the initial euphoria, a chill soon set in on those present. The test director, Kenneth Bainbridge, called the explosion a "foul and awesome display" and remarked to Oppenheimer, "Now we are all sons of bitches." Expressions of horror and remorse are especially common in the later writings of those who were present. Oppenheimer wrote that the experience called to his mind the legend of Prometheus, punished by Zeus for giving man fire, and said also that he thought fleetingly of Alfred Nobel's vain hope that dynamite would end wars. Most famously, Oppenheimer later recalled that the explosion had reminded him of a line from the Hindu holy text, the Bhagavad-Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." The terrifying destructive power of atomic weapons and the uses to which they might be put were to haunt many of the Manhattan Project scientists for the remainder of their lives."
-from The Manhattan Project, an interactive history

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