Today is the 69th anniversary of the Trinity Test. If you’re unfamiliar with the Trinity Test, how the heck did you make your way to this site? I kid. Kind of.

For those of you not in the nuclear-know, the Trinity Test was the first detonation of a nuclear weapon. It was basically a test-run of the technology that was used in Fat Man. (Little Boy was a whole different ball of wax. And don’t even get me started on Thin Man.)  Many consider it to be the stroke that drove us into the Atomic Age. There’s lots of information about the test all over the internet (especially today, it being the anniversary and all) so I’m not really going to include much background here. Except for a link to wikipedia, because that’s probably the first place you’ll go anyway.

I haven’t visited the Trinity Site. Yet. This is mostly because the site is now only open to the public on the first Saturday in April of every year–it’s not nearly as accessible as Oak Ridge, Hanford, or the Nevada Test Site (even considering the background checks and months-long reservations list). But! I do have it on my calendar for the spring (the 70th anniversary!!), and promise to write some super awesome fantastic posts after the visit.

Today I simply want to mention Robert Oppenheimer’s words following the detonation. You’ve probably heard that he uttered:

I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.


Which, let’s face it is scary (and true) as all get out.

Oppenheimer also had other pieces of the Hindu Bhagavad Gita swimming through his mind at this time too:

If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one.


I could go all English major and write words and words and words about the beauty and horror and conflict of the two thoughts, but I’ll leave that to you. I do love the conflict and think it sums-up America’s relationship with the nuclear world better than almost anything.

Instead, I’ll offer a clip from the YouTubes that includes both the Trinity Test detonation and a chunk of an interview with Oppenheimer. It’s creepy and lovely all at once.


  1. jkmhoffman2014 says:

    Reblogged this on jkmhoffman.


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