The Trinity test

I have read two-and-a-half books on the creation and use of the atomic bomb. The first was Richard Rhodes Pulitzer Prize-winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb, which went into great detail on the building of the bomb. I also read Genius by James Gleick, a biography of Richard Feynman, one of the many physicists who worked on the bomb. And now, I am halfway through American Prometheus, another Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Halfway through the book, the Trinity test has just taken place and I can’t emphasize enough how much of a chill it causes in me to read descriptions of the test, even though I have read them several times before. It is perhaps one of the best examples of cognitive dissonance that I can imagine: the impressiveness of the human imagination to deduce such staggering power and pry the secrets loose from Nature; and yet at the same time, the horror of the invention in the hands of fallable men.