Major Engineering Events in History: First Atomic Bomb Detonated 1945

About the major engineering events in history, the first atomic bomb is detonated in 1945 as part of World War II.

1945 A.D. (The 1st Atomic Bomb Is Detonated). The development of a new source of domestic energy, utilizing uranium fission, was urged by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as early as 1939. It took the entry of the U.S. into W.W. II after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, however, to give priority emphasis to using this same source of energy in a fission bomb of superlative destructive power. Advances in technology, discovery of new elements, and unheard-of international scientific cooperation had to occur on several fronts in order to create a sustained chain reaction of uranium-235 successfully. New technology was developed. Five new elements were discovered: neptunium (element No. 93); plutonium (No. 94); americium (No. 95); curium (No. 96); and berkelium (No. 97). Modern technology had done something alchemists had striven to do for centuries--transform one element into another. It has been written that "the technological gap between producing a chain reaction and using it as a large-scale power source... is comparable to the gap between the discovery of fire and the manufacture of a steam locomotive." Under the pressure of war, this gap was closed in 3 years. Much more had to be achieved, though, and was. At a cost of $2 billion, the 1st nuclear bomb was exploded 120 mi. southwest of Albuquerque, N. Mex., on July 16, 1945, ushering in mankind's most devastating weapon.

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