Witness to the Birth of the Atomic Age

Witness to the Birth of the Atomic Age - Witness to the...

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Witness to the Birth of the Atomic Age General Leslie Groves and General Thomas F. Farrell (1945) 18 July 1945 TOP SECRET MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF WAR. SUBJECT: The Test. 1. This is not a concise, formal military report but an attempt to recite what I would have told you if you had been here on my return from New Mexico. 2. At 0530, 16 July 1945, in a remote section of the Alamogordo Air Base, New Mexico, the first full scale test was made of the implosion type atomic fission bomb. For the first time in history there was a nuclear explosion. And what an explosion! It resulted from the atomic fission of about 13-1/2 pounds of plutonium which was compressed by the detonation of a surrounding sphere of some 5000 pounds of high explosives. The bomb was not dropped from an airplane but was exploded on a platform on top of a 100-foot high steel tower. 3. The test was successful beyond the most optimistic expectations of anyone. . .. There were tremendous blast effects. For a brief period there was a lighting effect within a radius of 20 miles equal to several suns in midday; a huge ball of fire was formed which lasted for several seconds. This ball mushroomed and rose to a height of over ten thousand feet before it dimmed. The light from the explosion was seen clearly at Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Silver City, El Paso and other points generally to about 180 miles away. The sound was heard to the same distance in a few instances but generally to about 100 miles. Only a few windows were broken although one was some 125 miles away. A massive cloud was formed which surged and billowed upward with tremendous power, reaching the substratosphere at an elevation of 41,000 feet, 36,000 feet above the ground, in about five minutes. . .. Huge concentrations of highly radioactive materials resulted from the fission and were contained in this
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2012 for the course HIST 105 taught by Professor Michaelg.smith during the Fall '08 term at Purdue University-West Lafayette.

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Witness to the Birth of the Atomic Age - Witness to the...

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