jeudi 10 décembre 2009

The First Atomic Explosion in the world was delayed because she had fallen asleep :)

This story was originally related by Laura Fermi, widow of the nuclear physicist Enrico.
The morning came when the bomb was scheduled to be detonated in the test. Laura told it like this…

"Enrico and I woke up at 3:00 a.m., to go to the site. The test was scheduled for 4:30 a.m. that day, which was July 19, 1945. We drove to our post, about twenty miles from the site. It had been arranged that the nearly 100 of us present would be located in a circle about 100 miles in circumference surrounding the bomb site. We were all to be in communication with each other over telephones, all of which were connected through the exchange in Alamogordo.

For some reason, the telephone there at the site did not seem to work; the operator would not respond. (Note: At that time, nearly all phones in the United States, and certainly in New Mexico, were manual. No dialing of any sort was possible—you had to use the operator for everything.)

So we drove back to town, and got there about 5:15 a.m. But strangely enough, the pay phone was not working either. Enrico was quite curious about all this and decided to investigate. Enrico decided that we would follow the wires. The telephone poles and wires from all directions seemed to come down to a house. There must have been hundreds of wires from telephone poles all coming down onto the side of this house and going in through an opening.

We went up on the front porch and looked into the house. A switchboard was there, and there were a dozen or more lights on the switchboard lit, blinking off and on as people were flashing the switch hooks on their phones trying to raise the operator. The room was just dimly lit, and near the switchboard was a woman laying on a sofa sound asleep!

Enrico pounded very loudly on the screen door, and shouted at the woman. Suddenly she opened her eyes and looked at him, very startled. Then she looked at the switchboard. Immediately she sprang up, dashed over to the board, sat down and began frantically answering the calls...

We had been at our post only about five minutes when the explosion went off, at about 6:30 a.m., which was two hours behind schedule. Later, we talked to the other staff members and found that there had been some confusion because of the rain. None of them had been able to reach the others because the telephone operator had fallen asleep, and the phones were not getting answered/connected…

We on the staff all had a big laugh out of it, but nothing more was ever said or done, and I doubt to this day that that woman is even aware that the first atomic explosion in the world was delayed two hours because of her."

Source : "The Best Of 2600" p23-25

2 commentaires:

  1. Along the holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis towards the Jews, the two atomic bombs dropped in Japan, were the most heinous crimes of man.

    It took courage to kill in an instant, thousands of civilians and even today there are sick people.

    Think of nothing else, good weekend, dear Bouchra


  2. I totally agree!! the nakazaki and hiroshima bombs are among the most cruel and heinous crimes of man, but I think you have to be the biggest insane coward to do such things, it doesn't have anything to do with courage!!!

    Let us hope for peace to reign upon the world!!

    good weekend for you too Marlow