Post archives

2015
October 2015
 9
Redactions
Niigata was one of the possible targets for atomic attack in 1945. Why was it spared? And why don't we ever talk about it?
September 2015
 8
News and Notes
Richard Hewlett, the first official historian of the Atomic Energy Commission, has died at the age of 92.
 4
Redactions
Did "Big Science" pioneer Ernest Lawrence believe that Japan should have been warned before Hiroshima?
August 2015
21
Meditations
Seven decades later, how do we talk about the atomic bombs?
 7
 3
Meditations
Considering a few of the options that were on the table in 1945.
July 2015
17
Visions
What does the Trinity test signify, in the broad sweep of human history?
June 2015
26
Visions
The Soviet space dogs were more than just adorable mutts — but they were those, too.
12
Meditations
What remains of the Manhattan Project? A lot of documents. Some people. A few places. And a handful of artifacts.
May 2015
29
Meditations
Historians sometimes need a reminder that places and people, not just documents, make up the past.
11
Redactions
Along with almost getting hit by a car, he made important contributions to the atomic bomb's design.
April 2015
10
Visions
The problem with thinking about the "critical mass" as a fixed quantity, and a new visualization to aid in thinking about it in a better way.
March 2015
27
News and Notes | Redactions
The US government has once again created a headache for itself in trying to censor information about the hydrogen bomb.
 6
Redactions
In 1945, some scientists thought we should "demonstrate" the bomb to Japan before dropping it on a city. Others disagreed. Who was right?
February 2015
13
Redactions
The details of the two dozen Manhattan Project deaths at Los Alamos reveal much about the work of building the bomb, and the people who did it.
January 2015
30
Visions
Why creating a "Manhattan Project National Park" is an important and necessary step to preserve the past.
16
 9Oppenheimer photo courtesy of the of the Emilio Segrè Visual Archive; photo of the hearing transcript by Alex Wellerstein.
Redactions
In October 2014, the lost Oppenheimer security hearing transcripts were released. This is the story behind the story.
 7
Meditations
Was a "Nazi nuclear bunker" recently discovered? Almost certainly not — but that hasn't stopped the story from being passed around.
 2Espionage Act secrecy stamp (photograph by Alex Wellerstein)
Redactions
The year in nuclear historical scholarship.
2014
December 2014
15
Visions
Is there a big red button that can launch nuclear war? No — but thinking about why there isn't is a nice way into the complexities of command and control issues.
 1
Visions
There are thousands of photographs of mushroom clouds — so why do we always see the same ones?
November 2014
14
Visions
Experiments in representing the atomic bomb and the substances that fuel it.
10
Redactions
The Trinity and Fat Man atomic bombs were powered primarily by plutonium — but not exclusively.
October 2014
17
Meditations
Can one empathize with the spies who never confess?
16
News and Notes
A public lecture on how laser fusion came to be, and the unique classification problems it posed for the Atomic Energy Commission in the 1960s and 1970s.
September 2014
26
Visions
The impressive ugliness that almost became the emblem of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
22
Meditations
How many people would have died if an atomic bomb had been dropped on Tokyo in early 1945, instead of firebombs? And why does it matter?
 5
Redactions
When the head of the Manhattan Project had questions about the history of the atomic bomb, he had a special, secret place to look for answers.
August 2014
22
Meditations
The original target for the second atomic bomb was Kokura, not Nagasaki. Why was Kokura spared? Three theories are considered.
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