Big boy and Fat boy

Posted 13 December, 2007 by graham in usa

Big boy and Fat boy, originally uploaded by GrahamKing.

In New Mexico, between the artists’ towns of Santa Fe and Taos, we visited Los Alamos, home of the atom bomb.
The Manhattan Project was based here, where the first atom bomb was developed between 1941–1946. In the picture are replicas of Big Boy and Fat Boy, the bombs which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, representing the successful outcome of the Manhattan Project.
Today the Los Alamos National Laboratory still controls most the the town and hills around it. There is a security checkpoint on the highway coming into town, and pretty much everyone in town works for the laboratory. This results in Los Alamos being the best educated community in New Mexico, and some great museums.
Aside from the Bradbury Science Museum, pictured, there is a museum about life during the Manhattan Project. The army forcefully acquired the land from a private school for teenage boys. Because a staff list would of shown a suspicious concentration of atomic scientists the staff were given new driving licenses with only numbers in them. This must of confused the local police, who were not told about the project.
Displays in the Bradbury museum wrestle between the bad of atomic weapons and the good of ending World War II (although the war ended in Europe in May 1945, three months before the bombs were dropped), but never convince themselves – the guilt they feel really comes through.
The laboratory is making great efforts to clean up the waste generated during the project and afterwards, and casually dumped before the dangers were well known. They also do lots of non-atomic science, and have some fantastic exhibits about radiation.

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