Book ID: CBB409460611

The Apocalypse Factory: Plutonium and the Making of the Atomic Age (2020)


Olson, Steve (Author)

W. W. Norton & Co.

Publication Date: 2020
Physical Details: 320
Language: English

A thrilling narrative of scientific triumph―and the unimaginable, world-ending peril it brought us.Fearing that the Germans would be the first to weaponize the atom, the United States marshaled brilliant minds and seemingly inexhaustible bodies to find a way to create a nuclear chain reaction with unimaginable explosive power.It would begin with plutonium, the first element ever manufactured by humans. In a matter of months, a city designed to produce this dangerous material arose from the desert of eastern Washington State. Plutonium powered the bomb that dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 (a target selected in almost arbitrary fashion). And the work of Glenn Seaborg, Enrico Fermi, and hundreds of thousands of others―the physicists, engineers, laborers, and support staff of the Hanford Nuclear Facility―would remain the basis of the entire US nuclear arsenal during the Cold War and into the present.With his characteristic blend of scientific clarity and human stories, Steve Olson offers this dramatic story of human achievement―and hubris―to a new generation. 32 illustrations

Reviewed By

Review Gerald Weinstein (2019) Review of "The Apocalypse Factory: Plutonium and the Making of the Atomic Age". IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology (pp. 63-64). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Turchetti, Simone
Cioci, Vincenzo
Eymann, Richard C.
Hoerlin, Bettina
Pritikin, Trisha T.
Williams, Hill
Physics in Perspective
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research
Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Raffaello Cortina Editore
Washington State University Press
Verlag für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Technik
University Press of Kansas
University of Nevada Press
Atomic, nuclear, and particle physics
Nuclear weapons; atomic weapons
Atomic bomb
Science and war; science and the military
Cold War
Fermi, Enrico
Seaborg, Glenn Theodore
Szilard, Leo
Strassmann, Fritz
Rasetti, Franco
Meitner, Lise
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, early
20th century, late
United States
Washington (state, U.S.)
Hanford Nuclear Site (Washington)

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