Thursday, June 28, 2007

How Weapons Physicists Feel About Atomic Explosions

Speaking about working conditions at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory circa 1987, one physicist described how things used to be:

And there was a great deal of adventure here in those days. ... With atmospheric testing, the way you collected samples was by climbing in the back seat of an air force airplane and taking off and having filter papers on either wing, and after the bomb goes off and you have a lovely mushroom cloud, then in an hour or so you make a quick pass through the cloud and expose the filter papers and collect samples and bring those back to the laboratory. . . . I thought that sounded absolutely wonderful.
--Quoted on p. 47 of Hugh Gusterson's 1996 Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War.

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