The Day the Sun Rose Twice: The Story of the Trinity Site Nuclear Explosion, July 16, 1945

The Day the Sun Rose Twice
by Ferenc Morton Szasz

University of New Mexico Press
xi + 233pp.
SH-P, GA *


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This book traces the development and testing of the first atomic bomb. The first two chapters are devoted to the creation of the Manhattan Project and the selection of the explosion site. Chapters three and four wrestle with the problems of atmospheric ignition, shock wave, and radioactive fallout. Chapter five details the events leading to the blast and its immediate impact. This book is full of fascinating details: George Kistiakowsky's bet with Robert Oppenheimer--a month's salary against $10--that the implosion system he had designed would work; Fermi's calculation of the blast yield on the basis of distance traveled by small pieces of paper at site S-10,000; Feynman's disobeying instructions not to look directly at the initial blast; and a blind music student's sensing the distant atomic bomb blast/flash. The next two chapters detail the radiation fallout and its effect on surrounding fauna and flora. The last two chapters discuss the social and political implications of the success of the atomic explosion. The book ends with an epilogue, list of abbreviations, and detailed notes on the author's sources. This is an informal documentation of one of the most significant events of the past 1,000 years.

--Reviewed by Jag J. Singh in Science Books and Films, 21/4 (March/April 1986), p. 221.