The Sciences

What the hell were we thinking?

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitJul 21, 2010 11:20 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

This is a video that starts slow, but around 3 minutes in... well. It shows every nuclear bomb explosion on the Earth from 1945 -- the US test before the bombs dropped on Japan -- to 1998, when India and Pakistan joined the madness. The animation is an art project by Isao Hashimoto, and is powerful indeed. I grew up when the cold war was at its coldest, and seeing this still gives me a chill. In May 1998 I was at a meeting in the Canary Islands when India and Pakistan tested their weapons, and I had a hard time finding news in English (the internet was unreliable there and then, too). Not knowing what was going on was maddening, but not nearly as maddening as what I did know. These weapons are out of the bottle, and even though there has been no detonation in over a decade, the knowledge of how to build them will always be with us. We use nuclear power for peaceful purposes now, and in the future we may even use it for exploring the solar system and beyond -- we already use fissile material to power some probes -- but we should always bear in mind the first use to which this power was put.

Tip o' the Pu-238 to AstronomyBlog, who retweeted PekingSpring.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2022 Kalmbach Media Co.