On July 16, 1945, the world’s first super bomb — loaded with about 13 pounds of plutonium at its core — exploded in a desert in New Mexico, destroying everything in its vicinity and melting vast swathes of sand into sea-green glass.
Back to basics
The super bomb, nicknamed ‘Gadget’, was built by a team of scientists at a top-secret site in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
It was developed as part of the US-led Manhattan Project, which sought to build nuclear weapons to give the allied forces an edge over Germany, Japan and Italyin World War 2.
On this day, exactly 75 years ago, the scientists tested Gadget — the world’s first atomic bomb — in what was dubbed the ‘Trinity Test’.
Less than a month later, an identical nuclear bomb called ‘Fat Man’ was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing tens of thousands.
What was the Manhattan Project?
The Manhattan Projectwas a research and development undertaking during World War II that produced the first nuclear weapons.
It was led by the United States with the support of the United Kingdom and Canada.
The super bomb was finally designed and conceptualised by a team of scientists at a top-secret laboratory in Los Alamos.
The team at Los Alamos was headed by J Robert Oppenheimer, a physics professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Oppenheimer later came to be known as the “father of the atomic bomb”.
Two types of atomic bombs were developed concurrently during the war: a relatively simple gun-type fission weaponand a more complex implosion-type nuclear weapon.
Testing the ‘Little Boy’ was not feasible, as there was not enough uranium available. The Plutonium bomb was eventually tested at the Trinity site on July 16, 1945.
How many countries worldwide now have nuclear weapons?
Seventy-five years after the Trinity Test, as many as nine countries around the world are currently in possession of nuclear weapons.
These include, the US, the UK, Russia, France, India, China, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea.
At least eight countries have detonated over 2,000 nuclear test explosions since 1945, according to data released by armscontrol.org.
The most recent instance of nuclear bomb test explosions conducted by India, were the series of five explosions done as part of the Pokhran-II tests in May 1998.
The first test, code-named Smiling Buddha, took place in May 1974.
Source: Indian Express