Los Alamos

No matter what you feel about the moral correctness of the results of their work, nobody can deny the impact on world history that the work of theortical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer’s team of WWII scientists at the Los Alamos laboratory in northern New Mexico had.

Now you can read the history of this laboratory, from before it even had a location (and therefore its name) through the acquisition of the Los Alamos Ranch School to the successful completion of its mission.

For those who prefer to get their history in movie format, I recommend Fat Man and Little Boy – a movie from 1989 starring Paul Newman as General Leslie R. Groves and Dwight Schultz (from the 80’s television series The A-Team) as J. Robert Oppenheimer. I couldn’t find it on DVD, but it is available on VHS, and is shown on TV every now and then too.

1 thought on “Los Alamos

  1. Los Alamos is only a 45 minute drive from our place, and on clear evenings we can see the lights of the town from our dining room window.

    I have been up there for business and curiosity. They have a great museum there and its free! http://www.lanl.gov/museum/ Of course the museum tries its best to be objective but its hard not to have significant biases.

    The place is on a plateau up in the Jemez Mountains and after you get up there, you realize its very remote and back in the 40’s it had to be really in the middle of nowhere! It’s been told that there was one rough dirt road up there.

    When I was there a couple of weeks ago, I just finished reading an article on their lack of security (see http://www.wired.com/news/conflict/0,2100,57792,00.html), so I was looking for security holes. I think may of the potential breeches still exist, but I didn’t want to try to breech them just the same.

    As for Oppenheimer, he was an amazing person really. A truly intellectual guy who wanted to do the right thing. Was very sensitive about his role in the A-bomb (“I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” — The Bhagavad-Gita, quote by Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer at the Trinity site). After the bomb’s creation he became a persona non grata with the hawk-types around the lab and was kinda of labeled “communist sympathizer” in some circles. He was phased out quietly.

    They of course don’t mention any of that at the Bradbury Museum, and they give him due respect, but I couldn’t help but feel that they didn’t give him all the credit he deserved in the history part of the show. He was definitely downplayed.

    DGC

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