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Trinity test

Date: 17 July 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

On July 16, 1945, the world’s first super bomb exploded in a desert in New Mexico, destroying everything in its vicinity. It was the first nuclear test in the world.

 

Background

The super bomb, nicknamed ‘Gadget’, was built by a team of scientists at a top-secret site in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

 

Details

  • The bomb was developed as part of the US-led Manhattan Project, which sought to build nuclear weapons to give the allied forces an edge over Germany, Japan, and Italy in World War 2.

  • The scientists tested Gadget, the world’s first atomic bomb that was dubbed the ‘Trinity Test’. Less than a month later, an identical nuclear bomb called ‘Fat Man’ was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing tens of thousands.

  • Merely a month after Germany initiated World War II by invading Poland, a letter signed by Nobel prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein warned then-US President Franklin D Roosevelt of the potential threat posed by an atomic weapon being developed by Adolf Hitler.

  • Soon after, the United States launched a secret atomic research undertaking, code-named the Manhattan Project, which sought to develop an atomic weapon to end the war.

  • The project brought together some of the country’s leading atomic experts as well as exiled scientists and physicists from Germany and other Nazi-occupied nations.

  • The Manhattan Project remained a relatively small-scale initiative for the next two years. It was only after the bombing of Pearl Harbour by the Japanese Navy Air Service in 1941 when President Roosevelt declared that the US would enter the Second World War, that the project was officially kicked into gear.

  • The team developed two types of bombs — one was uranium-based, which was later code-named ‘the Little Boy’ before it was dropped on Hiroshima.

  • The other bomb had a plutonium core. Testing the ‘Little Boy’ was not feasible, as there was not enough uranium available. The Plutonium bomb was eventually tested at the Trinity site on July 16, 1945.

  • The dust outfall from the explosion was expected to have travelled nearly 100 miles from the test site, posing a serious threat to residents in the area.

  • As many as nine countries around the world are currently in possession of nuclear weapons. These include the US, the UK, Russia, France, India, China, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea.

  • The most recent instance of nuclear bomb test explosions conducted by India were the series of five explosions done as part of the Pokhran-II tests in May 1998.

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