Friday, August 6, 2010

65 years since Hiroshima

One of these years I need to plan that vacation trip that includes a stop at Pearl Harbor before heading on to Japan in early August. I need to see where my car was built and visit ground zero of the first A-bomb used in combat as well as the place where it all started for the US in the Pacific. And Kyoto.

One of the odd things about these anniversaries is that, for my students, much more time has elapsed since Vietnam ended than had elapsed between the end of WW II and when I was finishing high school.

Another odd thing is that the film of the bomb going off was either taken or witnessed by someone I once knew, but he never talked about the experience. (In contrast, other people I know who worked on the Manhattan project or other war-related enterprises - such as code breaking - have shared that history and their views of the project.)

One particular irony is that there was an editorial about radiation exposure limits just a few days ago. (Hat tip to Chad at Uncertain Principles.) The dose limits were adjusted based on what was learned from single (acute) dose exposures at Hiroshima, but the editorial argues that we need to look more closely at the evidence from low level (chronic) exposures documented in the 60+ years since those first studies.

PS - I tweaked the posting time to match when (by Japan time) the bomb was dropped.

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