The first big bright double flash

So at 5:29 AM (local)  on this day (July 16) 75 years ago, the first nuclear bomb was tested (exploded) at the Trinity site in White Sands New Mexico.

22 kilotons, the experiment was a success.

An interesting side note: these scientists were geniuses.

About 40 seconds after the explosion the air blast reached me. I tried to estimate its strength by dropping from about six feet small pieces of paper before, during, and after the passage of the blast wave. Since, at the time, there was no wind I could observe very distinctly and actually measure the displacement of the pieces of paper that were in the process of falling while the blast was passing. The shift was about 2 1/2 meters, which, at the time, I estimated to correspond to the blast that would be produced by 20 thousand tons of T.N.T.
Enrico Fermi.

And from there the world had a tiger by the tail.



2 thoughts on “The first big bright double flash

  1. not so sure they were geniuses. i've seen multiple reports that they were betting among themselves whether it would cause a chain reaction, or blow the atmosphere off the earth etc, because they didn't really know what the bomb would do. they realized calculations only go so far. which now that i think about it makes them pretty dang smart.

  2. One theory was that it would ignite the hydrogen in the atmosphere and burn us all up.

    Fermi also worked the thermodynamics of that and proved it would only happen for a few hundred feet (spherically) before the reaction would cool off too much and the fire would go out.

    A good read: "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" by Richard Rhodes.

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