Romancing the Atom: Nuclear Infatuation from the Radium Girls to Fukushima

Romancing the Atom: Nuclear Infatuation from the Radium Girls to Fukushima

Romancing the Atom: Nuclear Infatuation from the Radium Girls to Fukushima

Romancing the Atom: Nuclear Infatuation from the Radium Girls to Fukushima

Synopsis

This book presents a compelling account of atomic development over the last century that demonstrates how humans have repeatedly chosen to ignore the associated impacts for the sake of technological, scientific, military, and economic expediency.

Excerpt

The release of atomic power has changed everything except our
way of thinking…the solution to this problem lies in the heart
of mankind. If I had only known, I should have become a watch
maker.

—Albert Einstein

If you are in residence on Earth, even if you are more than 100 years old, you have been romanced by the atom. You might be a resident of the so-called developed world, or you might be a member of an indigenous community anywhere on this planet. In fact, if you live in a part of the so-called developing world, you might have been more affected by this romance than if you lived in New York, Paris, Moscow, Sydney, Buenos Aries, Mexico City, or any other major metropolitan area of the world. You could make your living from the land, from the water, from a factory, from an office—no occupation or way of life is exempt from our powerful infatuation with the atom. You may consider yourself a victim, a beneficiary, or an innocent bystander of this romance. Whatever the case, we are all held in some fashion to this common bond of infatuation with the atom.

This common bond, however, is a paradox. On one side, the bond creates a togetherness, a community of believers. Albert Einstein is but one example of a leader of the atomic development community. He created theories of the atom that revolutionized the discipline of physics and virtually all of modern science, and he also was a prominent player in making things with the atom. Most notable, of course, was the atomic bomb.

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