The Manhattan Project

"The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war..."
---Harry S. Truman


What Is The Manhattan Project?

In 1938 many people feared that Hitler would build an atomic bomb after word spread that German scientist had split the uranium atom (fission). However, one of Hitlers mistakes was his persecution of Jewish scientists. This persecution resulted in numerous scientists seeking asylum in the United States. One such scientist was Albert Einstein. Einstein, abandoning his belief in pacifism, urged then president Franklin Roosevelt to develop an atomic bomb before Hitler did. Eventually Roosevelt agreed and the United States attempt at building the atomic bomb was codenamed The Manhattan Project.

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Who Was Involved With The Manhattan Project?

The Manhattan Project was carried out in extreme secrecy. By 1945, the project had nearly 40 labratories and factories which empolyed approximately 200,000 people. Among these employees were some of the greatest scientist that have ever lived. Included in this lot were Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Richard Feynman, J. Robert Openheimer, and Harold Urey (and this is but a hand full of the many).

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click on a thumbnail to learn more about these scientist that contributed to The Manhattan Project

Einstein thumbnail Albert Einstein Bohr thumbnail Niels Bohr Fermi thumbnail Enrico Fermi

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What Was The Outcome Of The Manhattan Project?

In 1945 the United States covert operation known as The Manhattan Project achieved its goal - to create the first atomic bomb. Since its inception in 1939, scientist had struggled to find a way to harness the power of fission. Through the combined efforts of many, a test bomb known as "Fat Boy" was finally created. On July 16, 1945 in a desert in New Mexico the worlds first nuclear test, codenamed Trinity, was conducted and ushered in the Atomic Age. The Trinity test success led to the creation of two more atomic bombs that would be used in WWII.

On August 6, 1945 the American B-29 bomber known as the Enola Gay released the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare. The 9,000 pound bomb nicknamed "Little Boy" detonated in Hiroshima, Japan. "Little Boy's" explosion was catastrophic and resulted in 66 thousand instantanous deaths. Total vaporization from the blast measured one half a mile in diameter. Total destruction ranged one mile in diameter and serious blazes extended as far as three miles in diameter.

Three days after the release of "Little Boy" a second bomb named "Fat Man" was released on the town of Nagasaki. "Fat Man" weighed 10,000 pounds and annihilated nearly half of the city. In one split-second, the population of Nagasaki dropped from 422,000 to 383,000. As astonishing as this seems, scientist estimate that both "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" only utilized 1/10th of 1 percent of their explosive capabilities.

Source: 1998 Grolier Multimedia Encylopedia

Click on the picture to see a video of both bombs being dropped on Japan

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Long Term Implications Of The Manhattan Project

The initial explosion of an atomic bomb is devastating but its destructive capabilities do not end there. Rain that follows an atomic bomb is heavily contaminated with radioactive particles. Many survivors of the initial blast eventually died due to radiation poison. Those survivors that did not die suffured severe burns, nausea, vomitting, fatigue, diarrhea, and hair loss. Other effects are still being discovered to date. One such discovery is the passing on of Leukemia to offspring.

Not all by-products of the atomic bomb have been negative. Through the atom bomb, scientist have discovered how to harness the power of nuclear energy. Nuclear power plants are far more efficient than traditional power plants. The medical field has also taken advantage of the atomic bomb. Technology used in the atomic bomb is also used for CAT scans and chemotherapy.

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Pictures Of The Manhattan Project

Trinity Test cloud Fat Man bomb Little Boy bomb Hiroshima explosion Nagasaki explosion
Trinity Test "Fat Man" "Little Boy" Hiroshima Nagasaki

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