Minutes before the B-29 bomber Bockscar dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, the crew of the accompanying B-29 released a canister holding testing equipment. A letter was Scotch-taped inside. The canister fell on the outskirts of the city and its contents withstood the second and, to date, last nuclear attack in a war.
The letter, addressed to “R. Sagane, Imperial University, Tokyo,” was an appeal from three Manhattan Project physicists to fellow physicist and former colleague Ryokichi Sagane. They asked Sagane to confirm the power and devastation of the nuclear attack to the Imperial Japanese government, and to urge Japan’s surrender.
John Abelson ’60, and Philip H. Abelson ’33, ’35 Roberts & Company, 2007
I was lucky enough to meet Philip Abelson in 2002 on the occasion of his visit to Pullman for the dedication of Abelson Hall (formerly Science Hall) in honor of the scientist and his wife Dr. Neva Abelson ’34.
During our brief interview, Abelson downplayed his own story, instead emphasizing his family’s ties to Washington State University. In 1905, his parents … » More …