Seventy-five years ago today, a group of physicists, engineers and Army personnel assembled in New Mexico's forsaken desert in the pre-dawn hours of July 16, 1945 for a top secret operation, code name: Trinity. Their goal was to detonate the world's first nuclear bomb.
J. Robert Oppenheimer, the 'father of the atomic bomb;' Edward Teller, 'the real Dr. Strangelove;' and Enrico Fermi, creator of the first nuclear reactor, waged bets on whether the blast would incinerate the entire planet or be a total dud.
Tensions were high. Oppenheimer had not slept. Bad weather delayed the scheduled 4:00am detonation and with war raging in Japan, the men were under no illusions how much was riding on the bomb's success.
Finally at 5:29am, an intense light followed by a sudden heat wave flashed across the remote desert. An enormous fireball tore through the night sky accompanied by a booming sound that echoed throughout the valley of Jornada del Muerto, or 'Dead Man's Journey.' The bomb, packed with 13 pounds of plutonium obliterated everything in sight with its awe-inspiring explosion equivalent to 21,000 tons of TNT.
'Trinity' not only led to a quick end to the war in the Pacific but also ushered the world into the atomic age.
As Oppenheimer watched the staggering explosion, he was reminded of a chilling line from Hindu scripture: 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.'
Kenneth Bainbridge, the Trinity test director, turned to congratulate his colleagues: 'Now we are all sons of b***ches.'
75 years ago today, the United States led a secret operation code named 'Trinity' to test its first nuclear weapon in the New Mexico desert. A prototype for an atomic bomb had been completed by 1944 but the Army was unsure of its potential and decided to run a practice 'test' before they used them in the war against Japan. Due to a shortage in plutonium, there was only one chance to carry out the test properly and it took a year and a half preparation