Towards the middle of the 20th century, in the midst of a great war encompassing the world, a new age was born – the atomic age. Many scientists were trying to split the atom (the building block of all matter in the universe) and unlock its mighty power. Shortly after World War II began, the Manhattan Project was born – an American research project with the objective of splitting the atom and creating an atomic bomb. For three years scientists from Canada, Great Britain and the U.S. worked diligently to create a bomb of immense power, which was put to the test on July 16, 1945. The test site was situated at Alamogordo Air Base 230 miles south of Los Alamos, New Mexico, and its code name was Trinity. The scientists were tense – some feared that the detonation would start a catastrophic chain reaction explosion in the atmosphere and destroy the planet. They were truly proceeding into the unknown. But, at 5:30 a.m. that morning, the first successful full-scale test of an atomic bomb ushered in the Nuclear Age. General Groves (in charge of the Manhattan Project) described the explosion like this: “For a brief period, there was a lighting effect equal to several suns in midday and a huge ball of fire was formed which lasted several seconds. This ball mushroomed and rose to a height of over ten thousand feet before it dimmed.” The picture seen here, taken by Jack Aeby, is the only known well-exposed color photo of the explosion. Today, 69 years later, there are still mixed feelings about the United States ushering in the Nuclear Age and dropping two atom bombs on Japan shortly after this test (which abruptly ended World War II). It is easy to look back at events and judge, yet in all of the controversy, the U.S. never used the bomb again. My hope is that the new emerging nuclear nations will also respect the mighty power of the atom.
SharLeigh has an inquisitive nature – she is interested in current events, history, science and many more subjects, including things that go bump in the night! Since 1997, SharLeigh has scoured the internet, looking for interesting, fun and timely topics covering all sorts of human-interest subjects for her articles from her home in Fontana, CA.