Atomic Heritage Foundation

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

History

History

This section provides an overview of the history of the Manhattan Project, the key organizations involved, the science behind the bomb, and more.

The Radium Girls

The tragic story of the "radium girls" had an important impact on the Manhattan Project.
Julius and Ethel leaving court after being found guilty, 1951.

The Rosenberg Trial

The trial and execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union remains controversial today.
The S-1 Committee in 1942: Harold Urey, Ernest Lawrence, James Conant, Lyman Briggs, Edgar Murphree and Arthur Compton

The S-1 Committee

As early as 1939, the U.S. government began to organize and fund nuclear research.
Prohibition Treaty

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

On July 7, 2017, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was approved by the United Nations General Assembly. The treaty banned the use, possession, development, testing, and transfer of nuclear weapons.
J. Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves after the Trinity Test

The Unlikely Pair

General Leslie Groves and J. Robert Oppenheimer were a study in contrasts, yet both were key to the Manhattan Project's success.
Theater

Theater and the Atomic Age

As with all types of art, works of theater tend to reflect the preoccupations of the society in which they are made. Because of this, it is unsurprising that stories about nuclear weapons have proven frequent fodder for dramatization in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This article provides a brief guide to some of the more notable plays that have tackled topics related to nuclear history. Interestingly, a majority of these works are from the past few decades. This may signal a recent, renewed cultural interest in nuclear weapons and the early decades of the Atomic Age.

The famous photo of the Trinity test, taken by Jack Aeby.

Trinity Test -1945

At 5:29:45 on July 16, 1945, "Gadget" exploded and the Atomic Age began.
Tsar Bomba (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Tsar Bomba

On October 30, 1961 the Soviet Union detonated the largest nuclear device in human history. The weapon, nicknamed Tsar Bomba, yielded approximately 50 megatons of TNT.
Trinity test shot 20 seconds

Tularosa Basin Downwinders

The Tularosa Basin Downwinders are individuals from central and southern New Mexico who state that they have experienced undue hardships in the years since the Trinity test because of the test's radioactive fallout. The negative impacts include increased rates of cancer, other diseases that have caused financial and social stress, and death.

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