the bomb’s birthday

July 16th is the 65th anniversary of Trinity, the bomb, the first nuclear test.

Robert Oppenheimer quoted the Bhagavad Gita, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

Less well-known Kenneth Bainbridge said, “Now we are all sons of bitches.”

“Humans have a tendency to overuse superlatives when it comes to history.” Ed at gin&tacos said that.

The Trinity Atomic Bomb Test on YouTube is here.

The Alamagordo News reports that persistent urging from the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium has [finally] produced “the most comprehensive view of the secret event, the land and the people of the northern Tularosa Basin ever in the public eye”.

Corks in the bottles of beer in the basement of the home popped out from the wave of compression, a light like lightning and a roar “like a giant piece of roofing tin being shaken by a monster” moved across the land, Ruthina often told her children. She believed her cancers were from the ash that settled over the agricultural community.

…then men in funny suits came in with boxes to study.

Too late or too little for most veterans and bomb workers, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act passed Oct. 15, 1990. Nothing for downwinders under the radionuclide ash. Funny about that.

A few extra nanosecond photos of bomb detonations here. Nuclear bombs are not easy. Think of trying to wrap jello with rubber bands:

The problem with getting a nuclear bomb to explode is bringing the fissionable materials together fast enough. Too slowly they melt and vaporize before the runaway chain reaction can take place. Rapid combination is achieved by surrounding the core with chemical explosives to create speed.  Timed to go off at exactly the same time, many detonators are used, but there’s numerous problems such as variations in detonator reaction time, delays caused by detonator cable lengths, uneven forces caused by minor variations in the explosive and a host of other issues.