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The sound of the atom splitting

July 20, 2012

Many years ago when I was at university I befriended an old man who had been in the armed forces when Britain tested its first atomic bombs in the 1950s.  He had been one of the many servicemen ordered to witness the tests and later in life he developed a series of health problems which he claimed were a direct result of this experience.  He spoke on the subject emotively of course, even as his long-suffering wife attempted to soothe his temper.  I have lost touch with the couple since but every now and then I’ll find the odd article charting ongoing attempts by former servicemen to gain recognition and compensation for medical conditions that developed as a result of exposure during and after testing.

Alex Wellerstein, Historian at the American Institute of Physics, writes a blog on nuclear secrecy and has posted a video of a nuclear test, together with its original sound here.  You have to stick with it for both image and sound as the latter is delayed in line with the laws of physics.  Wellerstein’s written commentary is interesting too.

And there’s also this bizarre piece of reportage with commentary as a bomb is exploded overhead.

No wonder there’s a hole in the ozone layer.

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