• Steven Heller

Say Bye Bye

Is it possible to survive a thermonuclear attack? You bet it is (or was) says the U.S. Department of Defense. Just dig a hole, construct some vents, fill it with canned beans, put your head between your legs and . . . .

The rest, as they say, was a blast!

Thanks to all you guys at the Manhattan Project for the great work. And to German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann and Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch, who made the development of an atomic bomb a theoretical possibility. Too bad Hungarian-born physicists Leó Szilárd and Eugene Wigner drafted the Einstein–Szilárd letter, which warned of the potential development of “extremely powerful bombs of a new type” urged the United States to take steps to acquire stockpiles of uranium ore and accelerate the research of Enrico Fermi and others into nuclear chain reactions. They had it signed by Albert Einstein and delivered to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. And thanks to Edward Teller for your input on material that “would provide a possible source of bombs with a destructiveness vastly greater than anything now known.” Well, we won the war and for that we’re thankful, despite the ensuing fear and terror of the arms race and its consequences.

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