Atom Bomb


Chandler Sullivan


Robert Oppenheimer. A theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, Oppenheimer became involved early in the scientific research that ultimately led to the Manhattan Project. Under Oppenheimer’s direction, Manhattan Project workers constructed a plutonium bomb.



When an atomic bomb explodes a large fireball is created. Everything inside of this fireball vaporizes, including soil and water, and is carried upwards. This creates the mushroom cloud that we associate with a nuclear blast, detonation, or explosion.


Test site

The world’s first nuclear explosion occurred on July 16, 1945, when a plutonium implosion device was tested at a site located 210 miles south of Los Alamos, New Mexico, on the plains of the Alamogordo Bombing Range, known as the Jornada del Muerto. The code name for the test was “Trinity.”


Radiation and Flash

Nuclear weapons emit large amounts of thermal radiation as visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light, to which the atmosphere is largely transparent. This is known as “Flash”. The chief hazards are burns and eye injuries. On clear days, these injuries can occur well beyond blast ranges, depending on weapon yield.



Many survivors began to notice the effects of exposure to the bomb’s radiation. Their symptoms ranged from nausea, bleeding and loss of hair, to death. Flash burns, a susceptibility to leukemia, cataracts and malignant tumors were some of the other effects.



  • When completely fissioned, 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of uranium-235 releases the energy equivalently produced by 17,000 tons, or 17 kilotons, of TNT. The detonation of an atomic bomb releases enormous amounts of thermal energy, or heat, achieving temperatures of several million degrees in the exploding bomb itself.