July 16, 2005 On this day sixty years ago, the world entered the nuclear age with the first nuclear explosion in the famous top secret test named “Trinity” by Robert Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer had an avid interest in Sanskrit literature and the reference was to the divine Hindu trinity of Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver), and Shiva (the Destroyer). The detonation took place at 5:29:45 local time on July 16, 1945, when “the Gadget" (code-named as such during its development) exploded (pictured). Upon witnessing the explosion, which proved the theoretical predictions and calamitous effects of the new weapon, Oppenheimer recited the following passage from the Bhagavad-Gita: “If the radiance of a thousand suns, Were to burst at once into the sky, That would be like the splendor of the Mighty One ... I am become Death, The shatterer of Worlds.” The US$2 billion Manhattan project began six years earlier when Albert Einstein wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt telling him of Nazi Germany’s efforts to build an atomic bomb. The project culminated within a month of this test after the only two uses of nuclear weapons in history. Three weeks later (August 6) a uranium bomb was dropped on Hiroshima instantaneously killing 66,000 people. On August 9, 1945, a Plutonium bomb fell on Nagasaki instantly killing 40,000. Japan offered to surrender on August 10, 1945.
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