Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Major Big Boom

Because I can only shoot craps for so long, I went to visit the Atomic Testing Museum during my jaunt west.

Firstly, since atomic testing has long since stopped being a tourist attraction no one in Las Vegas has any interest in all things atomic. So no one really had a clue what I was talking about when I said that was where I was heading.

Secondly, it is a really interesting museum! Seriously.

It is extraordinary that this small slice of American history - so dangerous, complicated, fascinating - was engineered by brilliant minds and carried out by ordinary people and had such potential to destroy the entire planet.

I was lucky to be there with only a few others and I wound up getting a personal tour by a lovely gentleman named Dick who had grown up on a rural farm in Ohio, served in Korea, who then went to work at the Nevada Proving Grounds until it closed and who now enjoys his retirement by working as a security guard at the museum.

He was so interesting to talk to and I am lucky it was a slow day.

The top photo is the Trinity device, the first ever atomic test - New Mexico.
This second photo is the Ivy Mike device, detonated on the Enewetak Atoll in the South Pacific.

There was a gallery in the museum with an exhibit of photographs assembled by Michael Light of 100 tests. It's weird to look at the photos and think how lovely they are when you know that you are looking at a poisonous & destructive force.


At about that time I was ready for craps again.

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