The "Trinity" exam, named after John Donne's poetry, was devised by Robert Oppenheimer. The location was chosen as the "Jornada del Muerto," or "Journey of Death," in the Alamagordo Bombing Range, 210 miles south of Los Alamos. The range is a large plateau with flat topography ideal for testing weapons technology.
Donne wrote several poems about death, including "Death Be Not Proud." He used this phrase as the title of one of his poems to express his feelings about death. The Trinity Test was the first nuclear explosion and it caused much debate about the morality of nuclear energy. The world media was invited to witness the test, which took place at 9:00 a.m. on July 16, 1945. The bomb exploded with such force that scientists estimated that it had the same destructive power as 20,000 tons of TNT.
After the success of the test, President Truman ordered that further development of the atomic bomb be continued. Within two years, the United States had built dozens of bombs, and by the end of the war, almost every city on Earth had been destroyed.
The Trinity Test created fear that led to discussions about banning nuclear weapons. This discussion continues today about where these dangerous devices should be allowed to exist in peace time.
The Jornada del Muerto is still visible today in the New Mexico desert.
The Holy Trinity (nuclear test) It was carried out by the United States Army as part of the Manhattan Project at 5:29 a.m. on July 16, 1945. The test took place in the Jornada del Muerto desert, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) southeast of Socorro, New Mexico, on what was then the USAAF Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range, which is now part of the White Sands Missile Range.
The site of the test is now known as "Trinity Site". There are actually two sites today; one that is accessible to the public and another that is not. The private site is owned by the U.S. government and operated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Public access is provided by the White Sands National Monument. The NRC has issued a fact sheet about the site including a map showing the location of the test with respect to other notable locations such as Los Alamos, Santa Fe, and Roswell.
After World War II, the United States government conducted over 1,000 nuclear tests in various places around the world. Most of these tests were done underground, but some were also done above ground with either bombs or satellites. One of these surface tests was the Holy Trinity test. This test was unique because it was the first time that scientists had attempted to create a self-sustaining fusion reaction. They thought that this would be the best way to generate energy from atomic bombs, but instead they created even more danger for earthlings by demonstrating that it was possible to trigger a nuclear chain reaction.
Alamogordo The world's first nuclear explosion happened on July 16, 1945, when a plutonium implosion device was tested in the arid plains of the Alamogordo Bombing Range, known as the Jornada del Muerto, 210 miles south of Los Alamos. The site today is home to the National Nuclear Security Administration's Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The Trinity Test A total of 2,000 pounds of TNT exploded about 1,000 feet above ground level on a flat, treeless plateau. The test was conducted by the U.S. Army under direction of the University of Chicago Radiochemistry Group. The goal was to determine if atomic energy could be used for more than just producing destructive power. The project was led by physicist Enrico Fermi and managed by physicist John von Neumann. They had calculated that if they detonated an atom's worth of polonium-210 mixed with iron into water, the resulting radioactivity would be sufficient to produce a measurable amount of heat. The experiment worked as planned, and it became the first proof of the concept of nuclear fission. Although no long-term effects were observed from the blast or its consequences, scientists still debate whether the area should be considered pristine desert or not.
Alaska During World War II, the United States government developed an idea called "Project Alberta" to create a research center where scientists could study how to improve the efficiency of nuclear reactors.
The nuclear bomb that exploded at Trinity was fashioned like a big steel globe and was dubbed "Gadget." It was a plutonium implosion weapon, similar to the Fat Man bomb that was detonated on Nagasaki. The explosives were fired to detonate the device, resulting in a shock wave that squeezed the inner plutonium and caused it to explode. The force of the explosion was so great that it actually compressed the air inside the sphere to 15,000 pounds per square inch, which is about one-third of the pressure found in normal air.
At 9:00 a.m. on July 16, 1945, a B-29 bomber called the Enola Gay dropped the Gadget off the coast of Japan. It was more than 100 miles from Hiroshima and 93 miles from Tokyo. The distance helped preserve the lives of those aboard the aircraft as they made their way across Japan toward their target. The crew included members of the U.S. Army's 509th Composite Group, who were preparing to drop the weapon at an altitude of about 5,000 feet for maximum effect. Among them were Carl Spaatz, then serving as chief of staff; Colonel Paul W. Tibbetts, commander of the group; Major Charles Sweeney, piloting the plane; and Lieutenant Colonel James D. Ramage, commander of the second plane in the flight deck crew. Also on board were scientists from the University of Chicago who had been brought over to America to help develop the American atomic program.
The origin of the name The name Devil's Tower was coined during an expedition headed by Colonel Richard Irving Dodge in 1875, when his translator allegedly mistook a native term to mean "Bad God's Tower." Although an Indian guide had shown the group the site where they were standing, later named Rat Rock after a large pile of stone found there, the man failed to indicate the importance of this location. Later investigations have revealed that what he was trying to say was "Taowaatsa," which means "Standing like a devil" in Lakota.
Even though Colonel Dodge never visited South Dakota, he is considered the father of geology in the United States because of his involvement in the formation of the Grand Canyon. He was also one of the first scientists to propose that mountains formed by lava flows or volcanic activity were responsible for most of the world's active volcanoes.
In addition to being a leader in geology, Colonel Dodge was also one of the first people to explore parts of Wyoming and Montana that are now known as the Black Hills. He claimed the area in behalf of the United States government but no treaty was ever signed due to disagreements between the parties involved. Today, the Sioux Indians claim ownership of the hills despite not having received any compensation from the federal government for taking them back in 1876.