Los Alamos

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Los Alamos

Los Alamos (lôs ăl´əmōs´, lŏs), uninc. town (1990 pop. 11,455), seat of Los Alamos co., N central N.Mex. It is on a long mesa extending from the Jemez Mts. The U.S. government chose the site in 1942 for atomic research, and the first atomic bombs were produced there. In 1947 the Atomic Energy Commission took over the town. In 1962 government control ended and Los Alamos became a self-governing community; the county was incorporated in 1969. The Los Alamos National Laboratory, operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, is a national historic landmark. Research there has broadened to include work on environmental (oceanographic models, clean air and water), energy, computer, laser, chaos theory, and biomedical (gene mapping) issues. Los Alamos is home also to the Bradbury Science Museum and a historical museum. Valles Caldera National Preserve, Santa Fe National Forest, Bandelier National Monument, and Santa Clara pueblo are nearby. Since the mid-20th cent. the town and laboratory have several times been threatened by wildfires originating in nearby forests, with the most significant destruction occurring in 2000.

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