The Gadget at the Trinity Site in July 1945
By Dennis Overbye
TRINITY SITE, N.M. – Once, in another lifetime, I witnessed an atomic explosion. This was in the 1960s at the Nevada Test Site, a vast area about an hour northwest of Las Vegas where the American military tested bombs. I was working for EG&G, a military contracting company that, among other atomic chores, supplied all the instrumentation for the test site; it is now part of a company called Amentum. My job, to study the effects of nuclear explosions on the atmosphere, was sufficient to keep me out of the Vietnam War draft.
Cabriolet, as the test was called, contained the force of 2,300 tons of TNT. Detonated hundreds of feet underground, it was louder than I thought anything could ever be. The ground bulged, and a line of torches marking ground zero flew into the air. From a shaking trailer four miles away, my boss and I filmed tongues of fire erupting from the earth and congealing into an elephant-shaped cloud of dust that drifted off in the general direction of Montana.
Those were heady days in the atomic business, when people thought they could build harbors in a few microseconds of fury, or dig a new Panama Canal overnight in a domino of blasts, or even propel spaceships. Cabriolet was part of the Plowshare Program, which looked for peaceful civilian uses of nuclear explosions. Turns out all they are good for is terror.
And the rest of this article is about TRINITY SITE. Where the first atomic bombs were detonated. Just before we dropped one on Hiroshima…another on Nagasaki. RTFA. Fill out your knowledge of American history.
12 thoughts on “Touring Trinity?”
Members of a ‘going in party’ recovery/inspection team at the N-10,000 bunker after the Trinity Test.
https://nationalatomictestingmuseum.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/doe.jpg (click to enlarge)
The Unsung African American Scientists of the Manhattan Project https://www.history.com/news/black-scientists-manhattan-project-atomic-bomb
African Americans and the Manhattan Project https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/african-americans-and-manhattan-project-richland-wa-1942-1945/
“What if the Trinity test had failed?” Alex Wellerstein http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/2020/07/16/what-if-the-trinity-test-had-failed/
Herbert M. Lehr (Special Engineer Detachment) enters the former master bedroom of the McDonald family’s ranch house at the Trinity base camp with a sub-critical mass of plutonium that’s the fissile core for the world’s first nuclear weapon http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/2014/03/28/plutonium-box/
This May Be a ‘Heisenberg Cube’ From the Nazis’ Failed Nuke Program, Scientists Say https://www.vice.com/en/article/93yvxa/this-may-be-a-heisenberg-cube-from-the-nazis-failed-nuke-program-scientists-say
“The history of this artifact provides a tantalizing glimpse of the nuclear race between the United States and Germany during WWII. While hundreds of uranium cubes were confiscated from Germany in 1945 as part of the Allied Alsos Mission, the majority have disappeared in the decades since, with many presumably absorbed into America’s nuclear program.
However, researchers have identified about a dozen cubes from various collections that presumably originated at war-era German research centers led by two scientists: Werner Heisenberg, who ran a facility in Berlin (and later, Haigerloch) and Kurt Diebner, who worked at Gottow. The PNNL researchers believe that their cube, which was shipped by the US Department of Energy to the laboratory during the 1990s, is one of the “Heisenberg cubes,” but they have yet to officially confirm its pedigree.”
Alsos Mission: https://www.atomicheritage.org/history/alsos-mission
At age 23, Leona Wood was the youngest and only female member of the team which built and experimented with the world’s first nuclear reactor in a project led by her mentor Enrico Fermi. In particular, Woods was instrumental in the construction and then utilization of geiger counters for analysis during experimentation. She was the only woman present when the reactor went critical. She worked with Fermi on the Manhattan Project, and, together with her first husband John Marshall, she subsequently helped solve the problem of xenon poisoning at the Hanford plutonium production site, and supervised the construction and operation of Hanford’s plutonium production reactors.
The plutonium produced at Hanford was used in the “Trinity Test” of July 1945 and the detonation of the “Fat Man” bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan in August that year. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leona_Woods
See also https://www.atomicheritage.org/history/plutonium
Universal Pictures has landed the right to finance and distribute the next film that Christopher Nolan will direct, based on his script about J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atom bomb. https://deadline.com/2021/09/christopher-nolan-universal-pictures-sets-next-film-j-robert-oppenheimer-development-atom-bomb-world-war-two-1234832975/
Nolan will produce the film alongside his wife and longtime producing partner Emma Thomas for their Syncopy Inc. banner.
Sources said that the film is now greenlighted to begin production in the first quarter of 2022.
…The best way that elite filmmakers can control how their films unspool is to take the route that Nolan and his WME reps did here and control their destiny through dealmaking.
Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. (also known as Endeavor Content for films and formerly known as William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, WME or WME-IMG) is an American holding company for talent and media agencies with its primary offices in Beverly Hills, California, United States. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endeavor_(company)
Japanese Atomic Bomb Project https://www.atomicheritage.org/history/japanese-atomic-bomb-project
It is very interesting to read!