Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy (?) Trinity Day

Both Boing Boing and remind us that on this day in 1945 the United States detonated the first atomic bomb.

I admit to a certain morbid fascination with the Trinity test and the entire Manhattan Project preceding it, though I'm kinda sorta ashamed to admit this. I suppose it's my inner 12-yr. old's obsession with things-that-go-boom and my adult realization that everything, absolutely everything in the world, changed at approximately 5:30 a. m. New Mexico time, July 16, 1945.

For my own amusement (and yours, too, perhaps) I scoured the web and storyboarded the following images:

Those singularly weird-ass pictures (3, 4, 5, and 6) were taken by Harold Edgerton with a series of automatic cameras situated 7 miles from the blast--shutter speed was the equivalent of 1/100,000,000 sec.

I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.


JSaM said...

Totally awesome! I have always been attracted and repelled by this subject. The total might (as shown cinematically) and the total destruction (in its long term effects) has always been of interest. I know that Oppenheimer sent the rest of his life "repenting" for his part, but it has proved such useful fodder for our society. I think that I got most of my exposure to the subject, early on, from "The Brain from Planet Arous(e)" with it stock footage from Operation Cue (1955)and lo and behold, the subject is still viable in the most recent Indiana Jones film.

G. W. Ferguson said...

I think The Manhattan Project, Los Alamos, and the Trinity Test all became integral parts of the Baby Boomer collective conscious. From fallout survival pamphlets in elementary school to "Duck and Cover," to the shelter sign on the post office wall (whatever happened to that?) we had the possibility of atomic/nuclear warfare hammered into us so hard that it was only natural we should develop a love/hate relationship with the subject.

JSaM said...

Well, let me tell you. The basement of the Wboro PO (which was once equipped for Nuclear, or Nuke-ular defense, depending on your political stance,) has nothing for you. There are still civil defense emblems there but there is nothing there to sustain you there. Even the toilets have been taken out (a sure sign). Lots'a hallways and empty rooms covered in a patina of dampness and darkness. We're in a flood zone anyhoo! Wouldn't that have been sweet!