Front cover image for Made in Hanford : the bomb that changed the world

Made in Hanford : the bomb that changed the world

On the eve of World War II, news of an astonishing breakthrough filtered out of Germany. Scientists there had split uranium atoms. Physicists in the United States scrambled to verify results and further investigate this new science. Ominously, they soon recognized its potential to fuel the ultimate weapon, one able to release the energy of an uncontrolled chain reaction. With growing fears that the Nazis were on the verge of harnessing nuclear power, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gambled on a project to research and produce uranium for military use. By 1941, experiments led to the identification of plutonium, but laboratory work generated the new element in amounts far too small to be useful. Large-scale manufacture would be required. In 1942, a small plane carrying Lt. Col. Franklin T. Matthias and two DuPont engineers flew over three farming communities in eastern Washington. The passengers agreed. Isolated and near the powerful Columbia River, the region was the ideal site for the world's first plutonium factory. Two years later, built with a speed and secrecy unheard of today, the facility was operational. The plutonium it produced fueled the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, and others tested on the Bikini and Enewetak Atolls, profoundly altering many lives. Through clear scientific explanations and personal reminiscences, the author traces the amazing but also tragic story of the plutonium bomb from the dawn of nuclear science through World War II and Cold War testing in the Marshall Islands
Print Book, English, ©2011
Washington State University Press, Pullman, Wash., ©2011
xvi, 190 pages : illustrations, maps ; 21 cm
9780874223071, 0874223075
The Arrival. Secrecy ; The neutron : a new tool ; Minds that shaped history
The Science. Developing fission ; Element 94 ; Chain reaction ; Continuing secrecy
The Engineering. B reactor ; Consequences of nuclear reactions ; The bomb
The Aftermath. From Japan to Bikini and Enewetak ; Lasting effects
After the bomb
Concerned scientists, the Franck Report