Remembering atomic blast from past
Aug 27, 2023
It has been 78 years since the world first witnessed the atomic bomb. Now we are about to understand the man who created it, the so-called father of the atomic bomb, through the recently released movie Oppenheimer — J. Robert Oppenheimer, a theoretical physicist that ultimately ran the Manhatten Project.
In earlier days, I dabbled in an experimenting. I was always intrigued with science. I might have been Mr. Wizard in my own sort of way. The term implosion: an abrupt, violent collapse of something. In my experiment, it was just the opposite. It was an explosion — a violent expansion in which energy is transmitted outward as a shock wave.
At around age 14, a friend and I went on a weekend camping trip to the woods behind my house. We found a nice spot and began building a tree house. We ran out of daylight and had worked up quite an appetite. We built a campfire to light our area.
Dinner, our one-course cuisine, would be pork and beans. I pulled out a large can from my knapsack and placed it dead center in the fire. My friend sat on one side and I was on the other. The first thing I noticed was the label going up in flames. There was a shiny tin can set before me. It wasn’t long that it seemed to grow in size, expanding. I needed to get a closer look at this surprising marvel of science.
I mentioned to my friend, “It seems to be expanding,” Then Pow! Being dazed in total darkness, the blast hitting my entire face, I felt my skin and could feel something oozing down my cheeks.
In a panic, I called out for a lighted match. On the striking of it, my friend exploded in laughter.
I was dripping in beans.
PAUL R. LAWSON
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