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Announcement: “Legacies of the Manhattan Project” May 12-13

From blogfriend Cheryl Rofer as well as Molly Cernicek and Susan Voss at Nuclear Diner, – an event for those interested in nuclear weapons, science, Cold War diplomatic history, national security, strategic theory and American strategists:

Nuclear Diner Teams With Santa Fe Institute To Bring You Legacies of the Manhattan Project 

Next weekend, May 12-13, at the Santa Fe Institute, a hand-picked group of physicists, historians, social scientists, systems theorists, and writers will examine the long-term legacies of the Manhattan Project in a timely discussion of an important event in world history that still influences science and society today. Harold Agnew, who was part of the historic effort to develop the first atomic bomb, will participate in the discussion.

SFI is collaborating with the Nuclear Diner to bring the discussion to you live on Twitter. You can participate before, during, and after by searching for the hashtag #bomblegacy or following @nucleardiner. Before the event, you can also leave questions at Nuclear Diner and the Facebook event page. If you “like” the Facebook page, you will get updates throughout the week and continuing information after the workshop.

The group will discuss new information, review original records, and mine the memories of project participants to present a case study in conflict from an important period in scientific history.

More about the Santa Fe Institute working group, including biographies of the participants and discussion topics, here.

Many of SFI’s founders were senior fellows at Los Alamos National Laboratory. As the Institute has emerged as a leader in complexity science, particularly in working toward a theory of conflict in human and animal societies, the Manhattan Project has become an important case study for understanding conflict. The project’s history also illustrates the occasional tension between pure theoretical research and applied science.

Photo: Harold Agnew holding the core of the Nagasaki bomb.

An excellent opportunity for students, grad students, historians and practitioners in various fields to participate here via twitter.

2 Responses to “Announcement: “Legacies of the Manhattan Project” May 12-13”

  1. Cheryl Rofer Says:

    Thank you for this great post! And one of my favorite Manhattan Project photos at the top!
    A small correction: This is a Nuclear Diner project. My partners Molly Cernicek and Susan Voss are doing a lot of the heavy lifting.
    This is the first event by the Santa Fe Institute to be live-tweeted. So we’re hoping for the kind of participation your readers can provide. I think we can get a great conversation going.
    And I like the photo because I managed to recover a little bit of the history associated with it. The big vessel is Jumbo, intended to contain the plutonium from the Trinity shot in case the nuclear reaction failed to take place. I was in charge of environmental remediation at Two Mile Mesa, where scale-model Jumbinos were tested. Some film footage has surfaced recently, and I wrote about it here.

  2. zen Says:

    What I have noticed, from discussing this issue for years with students and on blogs is how difficult a time ppl have with separating their hindsight from what was known or understood pre-Trinity or pre-Hiroshima by extremely busy men, some of whom were skeptical the bomb would work. Or who badly overestimated it’s political utility in the aftermath. I think Szilard understood better than most, or at least felt responsible for having been a catalyst for weaponizing nuclear energy, which added impetus to his arguments but did not make them very effective. Large communication gap with men like Byrnes

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