Monday, January 25, 2021

DAWN ABOVE ZERO (II Part)

The atomic flash of New Mexico was like a great affirmation to the prodigious efforts of our men of science over the past four years. It was like the affirmative answer to the question not answered until then: Will it work?.

After the flash came the rumbling of a terrible thunderclap that, like the one seen, was heard hundreds of miles from where the explosion occurred. The distant hills and the Dark Sierra echoed the explosion, returning it as if it came both from a place outside the world and from the very bowels of the earth. The hills said 'yes' and the mountains, in chorus, agreed. It was as if the earth had spoken and the clouds and the sky, suddenly iridescent, had joined the affirmative answer Atomic Energy?. Yes. It was like the grand finale of a powerful symphony of elements, fascinating and terrible, rising and crooked, sinister, devastating, as full of promises as of random omens.

I watched the birth of the Atomic Age from the side of a hill in the desert land of New Mexico, at the northeastern end of Alamogordo Air Base, about two hundred kilometers southeast of Albuquerque. The hill called Compania Hill for this purpose was located 34 kilometers northeast of Cero, a coded name given to the site chosen for the atomic bomb test. The area in which Zero and Compania Hill were enclosed was about thirty-nine kilometers long by twenty-nine kilometers wide, and was given the name Trinity cipher.


At eleven o'clock on Saturday night, July 15, I joined a caravan in Albuquerque composed of three coaches, three cars and a van that drove the radio equipment. We composed that strange caravan 90 people. Silent and with the greatest stealth we advance through the night, following the probably most unusual adventure of our days. With the exception of myself, how many were part of that caravan were scientists attached to the atomic bomb investigations, carried out with the utmost secrecy, and to the experimental centers of the plateaus and canyons of New Mexico, about forty kilometers northeast of Santa Fé, where we discovered the secret of introducing the fabulous energy of the atom into the most powerful man-made weapons. It was from there that the caravan left at five-thirty that Saturday afternoon to reach its destination, three hundred and forty kilometers to the south.


The caravan proceeded slowly along the winding roads along the cliffs of the canyons of northern New Mexico, passing through Española, Santa fe and Bernalillo, to reach Albuquerque at ten o'clock at night. There they joined Sir James Chadwick, rewarded with the Nobel prize for his discovery of the neutron, which was the key that opened the secret of the atom; Professor Ernest O.

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