January 27, 2005

Remembering Auschwitz...

Today we mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp. As citizens of this planet, we all must make a pledge to one another that this should never be repeated, ever to anyone.
January 26, 2005

Book Review: Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie

Book CoverIf you ask anyone to name a famous female scientist, invariably they will answer "Marie Curie". That is the power of her reputation and legacy. It has been over 100 years since she won her first of two Nobel Prizes (1903 in Physics and 1911 in Chemistry). Best-selling historian Barbara Goldsmith has produced a clear and enjoyable biography that illuminates the life of this enigmatic woman. She offers the reader an accurate portrayal of Marie Curie (1867 - 1934), born Marya Salomee Sklodowska, as a tireless scientist obsessed with her work. She continues into the private life of a woman who battled severe depression, was distanced from her children and challenged the male dominated scientific community.

Drawing upon the long-sealed Curie family archives, the book delivers a well-rounded view of Marie Curie. She takes us from her tough childhood in Russian-occupied Poland to finding her soul mate in fellow scientist Pierre Curie to the discoveries of polonium, radium, and radioactivity, thus throwing "open the door to atomic science." Goldsmith focuses her telling more on the social and economic hurdles that Curie had to overcome to manage the roles of scientist, wife, and mother, rather than her scientific life. Goldsmith also shows us the impact of her husband Pierre's untimely death in 1906.

In the end, Marie was made fatally ill by her work with radioactive substances, most notably with radium: "my child," Curie called it. The legacy of Marie Curie makes for a fascinating tale of the family that helped unlock the secrets of the atom and transform our world. This biography is a power portrait of a woman of great passion, genius, and pain of whose impact is still felt in the world.

January 22, 2005

North Korea Tells U.S. Lawmaker It Has Atom Bombs

North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said the country was a nuclear weapons state but its nuclear arsenal was defensive in nature and Pyongyang did not intend to possess it forever, Radio Free Asia quoted U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon as saying.

Weldon, Republican of Pennsylvania, led a six-member congressional delegation to North Korea last week and met with its senior officials. North Korea aimed to denuclearize itself and it was willing to move toward that end in a transparent manner, Weldon quoted the North's Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun as saying. [via
Yahoo! News
January 19, 2005

HBO Films - Dirty Bomb

In a post-9/11 world, how do you prepare for the unthinkable? Is it possible to stop a coordinated radioactive-weapons attack by determined terrorists in an international city? And what, if anything, should the public be told about such a threat?

This HBO Films thriller shows how a 'dirty bomb' attack might be planned and executed in London, despite the best efforts of police and intelligence forces - as well as how devastating the consequences of such an attack could be."

Premieres January 24 at 9pm. It will be rebroadcast on PBS in February.

HBO Films
January 18, 2005

NPR : 'Obsessive Genius,' The Life of Marie Curie available

From NPR's Talk of the Nation on December 10, 2004, has an interview with Barbara Goldsmith, author of Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie. It is about 30 minutes long and available in Windows Media and Real formats. [Listen here]

We have a review of the book coming soon.
January 13, 2005

Search for Banned Arms In Iraq Ended Last Month

The hunt for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in Iraq has come to an end nearly two years after President Bush ordered U.S. troops to disarm Saddam Hussein. The top CIA weapons hunter is home, and analysts are back at Langley.

In interviews, officials who served with the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) said the violence in Iraq, coupled with a lack of new information, led them to fold up the effort shortly before Christmas. Intelligence officials said there is little left for the ISG to investigate because Duelfer's last report answered as many outstanding questions as possible. The ISG has interviewed every person it could find connected to programs that ended more than 10 years ago, and every suspected site within Iraq has been fully searched, or stripped bare by insurgents and thieves, according to several people involved in the weapons hunt. [via Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and Washington Post (registration required)]
January 11, 2005

The Full Smyth Report is now available online

Smyth ReportWe have just finished the last chapter of the Smyth Report. The text can be found at http://atomicarchive.com/Docs/SmythReport/index.shtml.

The Smyth Report was the common name given to an administrative history written by physicist Henry DeWolf Smyth about the Allied World War II effort to develop the atomic bomb, the Manhattan Project. The full title of the report was the unwieldy Atomic Energy for Military Purposes; The Official Report on the Development of the Atomic Bomb under the Auspices of the United States Government, 1940-1945.
January 10, 2005

It's Nucular...

We are ordering our t-shirts now...

funny t-shirt: It's Nucular Shirt

The Funny T-Shirt Store
January 09, 2005

Two memoirs...

Book CoverChildren of Usher: Growing Up in Los Alamos is a collection of short stories written by Glenn Fishbine. This is a different kind of book, it is not an in-depth analysis of the political or scientific impacts of the nuclear age. These light hearted stories focus on growing up during the Cold War at Los Alamos, New Mexico. During the Manhattan Project, three "atomic" cites were built to design and create nuclear weapons. These cities not only included scientists and engineers, but husbands, wives and children.

Mr. Fishbine recounts childhood misadventures of making fake UFOs and stink bombs in the local movie theater, and growing up under the routine threat of global annihilation. The collection is an enjoyable light read. Available at amazon.com

Book Cover The Bomb and Its Deadly Shadow is a short (42 page) memoir of Dr. Stafford (Staff) L. Warren written by his son Dean Warren. This book recounts the career as one of the leading scientists in the effects of radiation on humans. Following post-doctoral work at Johns Hopkins and Harvard he joined the faculty of the Department of Radiology in the University of Rochester's School of Medicine. There he explored the use of X-rays, radium and radon gas and their practical medical application.

In 1943, as Colonel in the Army Medical Corps, Dr. Warren was appointed Chief of the Medical Section of the Manhattan Project. In this critical position he was responsible for the radiation safety of all personnel involved, both at the University of Chicago and then at the test site of the world's first nuclear bomb in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

As the radiological safety director for the test, he set out to survey the fallout soon after it. He found a radiological disaster: "[T]he dust outfall from various portions of the [radioactive] cloud was potentially a very dangerous hazard over a band almost 30 miles wide extending almost 90 miles northeast of the site."

After leading a research team to the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to survey the residual radiation, he was the Chief of the Radiological Safety Section of the Joint Task Force for the early weapons tests at Bikini Atoll during Operation Crossroads. Afterwards he served as a consultant for the Atomic Energy Commission on medical matters.

In 1971 Dr. Warren received the Enrico Fermi Award of the Atomic Energy Commission for his role in "the early development of atomic energy so as to insure the protection of man and the environment." Dr. Warren passed away in 1981.

The book lacks the depth that one would expect in a traditional biography. Although the author references an oral history that his father gave, one wishes that he could have brought more details and insight to this story. The personal anecdotes do provide a nice touch, allowing us to glimpse behind the fences of the Manhattan Project into the homes of the people who worked there. Those looking for a greater insight into the medical aspects of the early days of the atomic age will have to look elsewhere. Available at amazon.com

January 07, 2005

2005 Teaching Nonproliferation Summer Institute

Integrating Science & Politics in the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction

This faculty workshop is designed to help instructors prepare or update course material related to weapons of mass destruction and nonproliferation. Experts on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons will present current information on issues facing the United States and the world community as a result of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The final day of the conference will be devoted to course development and the exchange of curricular materials related to these subjects. Particular attention will be given to the development of interdisciplinary courses that integrate science and social science perspectives. The institute will be held from June 27 to July 2 at the campus of Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia.

Sponsored by: U. S. Institute of Peace and Washington and Lee University

For further details about applying for this institute contact Lynda Bassett-de Maria and consult the information posted at http://wmd.wlu.edu/

Site Updates

Well some of the planned changes to atomicarchive.com are now done ( is a site ever really done?). For those of you have been using this site for some time will notice that we replace the links beneath the main sections of the header. Before you could navigate from each sub-section to another by using these links.

old navigation scheme

The problem was that as you went deeper into the site, you could get lost. Not the best design when you have almost 900 pages (and more coming). So this design has been replaced with a more traditional breadcrumb system. So you now have a better scope of where you are within the site.

new navigation scheme

We also modified the previous and next page controls. We have updated the graphics and added a page counter. This coupled with the new breadcrumbs should make atomicarchive.com a more usable site.

New page numbers

The sitemap has also been expanded to better reflect all the content on the site.

If you have any feedback on these changes or anything else, drop us a line.
January 06, 2005

HEU on the move

Just before the new year, U.S. and international officials safely removed six kilograms of highly enriched uranium from a research reactor in Rez, Czech Republic. The uranium was loaded into four transport containers and returned to Russia, which supplied the fuel for the Rez reactor.

The transport of the materials, coordinated by the United States, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Czech Republic, and Russia, highlights the progress that has been made in recent years in converting research reactors around the world from using highly enriched uranium to alternate fuels, reducing the proliferation risk. [via Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists]

Iran to Allow IAEA to Visit Suspected Nuclear Site

Iran has granted International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors permission to visit a military complex near Tehran that the United States believes is part of a clandestine nuclear weapons program, the Associated Press reported. A team is expected to examine the Parchin site "within days or weeks," agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said. [ via NTI: Global Security Newswire]
January 04, 2005

UN Flags Egypt Nuclear Experiments

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has found evidence of secret nuclear experiments in Egypt that could be used in weapons programs, diplomats said Tuesday.

The diplomats told The Associated Press that most of the work was carried out in the 1980s and 1990s but said IAEA - is also looking at evidence that suggests some were as recent as a year ago. [via CBS News]

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