Facts and Ideas from Anywhere (Atomic Bomb – the Thing, That Changed the World) (Spending on War and Pork) (Garbage, Waste and Consumption) (Editorial)
“THE THING” THAT CHANGED THE WORLD They called it “the beast,” “the gadget,” “the thing,” “the device.” Sometimes they just called it “it.” The one thing nobody called it was what it actually was–the world’s first atomic bomb. When it exploded about 150 miles from Los Alamos, New Mexico, where it was developed, the federal government had already spent nearly $2 billion to make this event happen, and $2 billion in 1940-1945 was real money! The code name given for the test was Trinity, after a John Donne Holy Sonnet. The name was chosen by Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific director of the project, who smoked about 100 cigarettes a day, loved martinis, and weighed 115 pounds. Major General Leslie R. Groves, who weighed over twice as much and detested smoking and alcohol, directed the bomb program and named it the Manhattan Project. Groves lived a life of blameless domesticity with his wife and 2 children. Oppenheimer had a communist mistress who later committed suicide and a wife who had been married three times before. Oppenheimer, an intellectual, believed in open discussion. Groves was obsessed with secrecy.