Happy Trinity Day

Happy Trinity Day: on this day in 1945, the first atomic bomb was detonated in Alamogordo, in Los Alamos, NM. Celebrate with a mushroom pizza.

Don't miss Ellen Klages's award-winning Green Glass Sea, the best story ever written about trinitite (the radioactive green-glass "rocks" made from sand fused by the Trinity detonation) and remember, you can buy the stuff online!

With gallows humor, the Los Alamos physicists got up a betting pool on the possible yield of the bomb. Estimates ranged from zero to as high as 45,000 tons of TNT. Enrico Fermi, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1938 for his work on nuclear fission, offered side odds on the bomb destroying all life on the planet.

J. Robert Oppenheimer, scientific director of the Manhattan Project, was under no illusions about what he and his fellow physicists had wrought. The effects of the blast, the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT, moved the intellectual Oppenheimer to quote from the Bhagavad Gita: "If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one. Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds."

More prosaically, Dr. Kenneth Bainbridge, site director of the Trinity test, said: "Now we are all sons-of-bitches."


(Thanks, Evan!)

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)