With this we come to an end of our 10 week journey. The last one from the list is ‘Made in Hanford: The Bomb that Changed the World’
Author: Hill Williams
Originally published: 2011
Hill Williams traces the amazing but also tragic story from the dawn of nuclear science through World War II and Cold War testing in the Marshall Islands.
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 1945, and others tested on the Bikini and Enewetak Atolls, profoundly altering many lives.
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. Hill Williams traces the amazing but also tragic story from the dawn of nuclear science through World War II and Cold War testing in the Marshall Islands.