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 THREE
Theoretical Considerations

All things considered, the actual construction of Trinity Site proved relatively uneventful. The theoretical considerations of what might happen to the area because of the detonation, however, proved quite another matter. In examining these issues, the scientists raised three questions which have still not been fully settled.

The most important of these -- and this may be an understatement -- was that a nuclear explosion might somehow ignite the atmosphere and thus destroy all life on earth.

By 1945, the idea that the world might come to a violent and abrupt end was hardly new. Its chief proponents hitherto, however, had been the millennial Christians. Reading the books of Daniel and Revelation literally, these people predicted that Jesus would return bodily to inaugurate the promised thousand years of peace. Then time would come to an end. Adventist William Miller of upstate New York gathered many followers for these views in the early 1840s. Twice he actually set dates for the process to begin. Although these ideas faded somewhat with the Civil War, they were revived during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Numerous conferences, speakers, and publications moved the millennial concept into many of the mainline Christian denominations. The advent of World War I seemed to lend credence to this position. Many felt that the world had entered the "last days."1

With the advent of subatomic physics in the new century,

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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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