This year marks the 70th anniversary of the dawn of the atomic age. The first detonation of a nuclear weapon at Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16,1945 was followed in short order by the first use of nuclear weapons in war, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the months that followed, the scientific community and policy makers in the United States, the USSR, and elsewhere struggled to come to terms with the implications of what they had wrought.
The "70th Anniversary of the Atomic Age" lecture series is designed to launch a year-long discussion on campus that will focus on the origins and legacies of the atomic age. The list of invitees reflects the series’ broad scope and chronological reach. Our speakers focus both on early moments in this history, including the decisions to use the atomic bombs on Japan and survivors’ efforts to come to terms with their experiences. The series also explores the Soviet Union’s decision to launch a nuclear weapons program, and the histories of the industrial sites and communities devoted to the production of plutonium. All the speakers are historians, but the nature of their topics and expertise will appeal to an audience of diverse interests, ranging from international relations to environmental science, from physics to public history.
The first talk will be held on Thursday, October 8, at 4:00 PM in the Glenn and Darcy Weiner Center. Professor Martin Sherwin of George Mason University, will be giving a talk entitled: "Hiroshima: What Do We Know After 70 Years of Debate About the Most Important Event in World History?" We look forward to a spirited discussion.