JF Ptak Science Books Post 2441
Now we are all sons of bitches—Kenneth Bainbridge, Trinity Director.
- [Image source: the interesting Gray Flannel Suit site, here: http://www.grayflannelsuit.net/blog/so-this-is-the-atomic-bomb-true-comics-march-1946]
I couldn't help but take out the trusty paper microscope for a good strong look at this image. It appeared anonymously in True Comics (issue #47, March 1946) and depicts the explosion of the atomic bomb at the Trinity site Alamogordo on July 16, 1945. I might have given the statement a little more emphasis--maybe an extra exclamation point.
There were many profound thoughts in many profound for-real heads there in the desert, at the reaches of the Jornarda del Muerto("The Dead Man’s Walk", a formerly nearly-impenetrable stretch of desert in the Llano Estacado) at Trinity. Robert Oppenheimer famously cited the Gita (“Now I am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds…”); Enrico Fermi was so busy with his little and excruciatingly wonderful experiment with strips of paper calculating the effect of the blast (he reckoned a very-close 10,000 tons) that he didn’t actually hear the explosion; Edward Teller thought Tellerian thoughts, and so on. Actually the observation points (like S-10000 and Campania Hill) were crowded with big brains: in addition to Oppenheimer, Teller and Fermi were people like Hans Bethe, James Chadwick (whose discovery of the neutron sort of started the whole thing), Richard Feynman, George Kistiakowsky, Phil Morrison, Robert Serber, Vannevar Bush, James Conant, and many others. The were all thinking pretty big things (except for the occasional so-terrific-it-can't-be-real-but-it-must-be-because-Richard Rhodes-documents-it stuff like that which maybe came from Feynman’s mouth, which was “hot dog!”). I think that Bainbridge’s statement was the best, and truest, summation of the morning’s activities, in spite of the necessity to make the whole thing happen. There was just no way that it wouldn't be done.
Anyway, "So this is the atomic bomb" is pretty weak.