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 NINE
The Local Legacy

After the July 16 test, many of the scientists collapsed from exhaustion. Both Kenneth Bainbridge and his assistant John Williams found themselves unable to function. They took time off to recuperate through a fishing trip at nearby Elephant Butte Reservoir. Afterwards they returned to the site for several days of gathering data and recovering equipment.

Donning protective gear, Bainbridge led a small crew into the fused sand region to recover the instruments. They were among the first observers to realize the extent to which the ball of fire had depressed the earth. Their Geiger counter readings were so high, however, that each man took only brief turns in digging the equipment out of the sand. The blast had created hot, radioactive gases that often penetrated the shielding devices to ruin measurements. Nevertheless, they did gather valuable information.

The scientists gathered an enormous amount of data. Dozens of experiments provided information on blast pressures, neutron fluences in several energy levels, the emission of gamma-rays, and "generation time" -- how the neutron population increased over time -- which was closely related to bomb efficiency. Analysis of the distribution of debris led to the formulation of the first fallout model. Virtually every experiment proved significant in one way or other.1

The information they collected, however, was of interest chiefly to the scientists. The military concerned itself only with the

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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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