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Atomic bomb

Spring 2015

A Nagasaki letter

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.

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Summer 2012

The Atomic Landscape

Seven decades later, we consider our plutonium legacy 

Works considered in this article:

Plume
Kathleen Flenniken
University of Washington Press 2012

Made in Hanford: The Bomb that Changed the World
Hill Williams
Washington State University Press 2011

Making Plutonium, Re-Making Richland: Atomic Heritage and Community Identity, Richland, Washington, 1943-1963
Lee Ann Powell
Thesis, Department of History, Washington State University 2007

Reactor B From State Route 24 east of Vernita Bridge (Photo … » More …

Summer 2009

Uncle Phil and the Atomic Bomb

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 …