Monday, July 16, 2007

Trinity Test Remembered

Sixty-two years ago today, the power and destruction of the atom was first released during the Trinity test at the Alamogordo Test Range in New Mexico. The test was of an implosion-design plutonium bomb, the same type dropped on Nagasaki Japan a few weeks later that yielded a 20 kiloton explosion and killed approximately 74,000 people. After watching the Trinity test, a stunned Los Alamos director J. Robert Oppenheimer quoted the Bhagavad Gita: I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

For more information on the Trinity test, click here to watch a clip from the movie "Trinity and Beyond" which includes footage of the explosion itself. Note the plug by Edward Teller of Leo Szilard, Manhattan Project scientist and founder of Council for a Livable World, the sister organization of the Center. The success of the Trinity test led Szilard to draft a petition the very next day urging President Harry Truman to consider his moral responsibilities, and not merely expediency, in deciding whether to use the atomic bomb. The petition was signed by 68 other Manhattan Project scientists.

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