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In the Land of Trinity

I spent two days in Los Alamos, New Mexico last week. It was my second trip there in the last couple of months. Los Alamos is presently home to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, but of course is best known as the development site for the world's first atomic weapons during World War II. (A page of historical links can be found here.)

Here are a couple of photos of Fuller Lodge, which housed Manhattan Project scientists during 1945-1947:

My emotional reaction to being in Los Alamos is a mixed one. On the one hand, given the knowledge at the time, I'm glad the United States decided to build the bomb, and proud, in a sense, that we finished it. If the Third Reich had made more progress, and if we hadn't, we could have found ourselves in a situation in which Hitler had atomic weapons and we didn't. It's a horrifying scenario. On the other hand, I'm sorry that we used it against the Japanese. I often wonder if a demonstration would have done the trick instead of actually using it. And given the decision to use it, why target cities filled with civilians? Why not a purely military target?

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