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The apocalypse factory : plutonium and the making of the atomic age

Olson, Steve, 1956-2020
Books, Manuscripts
"A thrilling narrative of scientific triumph-and the unimaginable, world-ending peril it brought us. Fearing that the Germans would be the first to weaponize the atom, the United States marshaled brilliant minds and seemingly inexhaustible bodies to find a way to create a nuclear chain reaction with unimaginable explosive power. It would begin with plutonium, the first element ever manufactured by humans. In a matter of months, a city designed to produce this dangerous material arose from the desert of eastern Washington State. Plutonium powered the bomb that dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 (a target selected in almost arbitrary fashion). And the work of Glenn Seaborg, Enrico Fermi, and hundreds of thousands of others-the physicists, engineers, laborers, and support staff of the Hanford Nuclear Facility-would remain the basis of the entire US nuclear arsenal during the Cold War and into the present. With his characteristic blend of scientific clarity and human stories, Steve Olson offers this dramatic story of human achievement-and hubris-to a new generation"-- Provided by publisher.
First edition.
New York : W. W. Norton & Company, 2020.
336 pages : illustrations, map, portraits ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Part 1. The road to Hanford -- The chain reaction -- Element 94 -- The decision -- The Met Lab -- Plutonium at last -- The demonstration -- Part 2. A factory in the desert -- The evicted -- The builders -- The B Reactor -- The T Plant -- Implosion -- Washington, D.C. -- Trinity -- Tinian Island -- Part 3. Under the mushroom cloud -- Nagasaki Medical College Hospital -- The Urakami Valley -- Nagasaki -- Part 4. Confronting Armageddon -- The Cold War -- Building the nuclear arsenal -- Peak production -- The reckoning -- Remembering -- Epilogue.
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