The Day the Sun Rose Twice: The Story of the Trinity Site Nuclear Explosion, July 16, 1945

By Ferenc Morton Szasz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
The Construction and Naming of Trinity

Finding a suitable spot to test "the gadget," as the bomb came to be known, started in May of 1944. When the first search team of J. R. Oppenheimer, Kenneth T. Bainbridge, and two army majors became bogged down in the late New Mexico spring snow, it added a rather romantic aura to the whole process. Although numerous people went on the various site surveys, the brunt of the search was conducted by Major W. A. (Lex) Stevens, who was to be responsible for the construction of the camp, and physicist Kenneth T. Bainbridge. Bainbridge was to be in charge of all on-site operations, and from the spring of 1944 until the fall of 1945 he was totally occupied with site-related issues. The search teams pored over numerous maps and visited several possible locations. They also borrowed a seven-passenger C-45 and scouted much of the western United States from the air.

The requirements for the test site were strict. The location had to be relatively flat, both to minimize the effects of the terrain on the blast and to maximize the opportunities for the numerous optical experiments. The weather in the region had to be basically good. The site had to be isolated from any centers of population, yet close enough to Los Alamos to provide ease of movement for both men and material. (This became more and more crucial as the time for the test approached.) The potential ease of transportation for Jumbo also played a more important role than anyone was willing to admit. Finally, Harold

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The Day the Sun Rose Twice: The Story of the Trinity Site Nuclear Explosion, July 16, 1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 3
  • Chapter One - The Origins of Los Alamos 7
  • Chapter Two - The Construction and Naming of Trinity 27
  • Chapter Three - Theoretical Considerations 55
  • Chapter Four - The Question of Weather 67
  • Chapter Five - The Blast 79
  • Chapter Six - The Aftermath I: Fallout 115
  • Chapter Seven - The Aftermath II: Cattle, Film, and People 131
  • Chapter Eight - The International Legacy 145
  • Chapter Nine - The Local Legacy 159
  • Epilogue 173
  • Abbreviations 179
  • Notes 181
  • Bibliography 213
  • Index 225
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