Atomic energy


In high school physics we were taught the theory behind atomic physics. Bearing in mind that this was in the 1960s, when atomic energy theory and practice was still relatively new. I was riveted by this theory. I just couldn’t get enough of it, and for someone who wasn’t particularly good at physics, this was all the more odd. I could visualise the electrons all bombarding their targets with the consequent release of all this unfathomably strong and universally destructive radiation over which nobody had any control whatsoever. Why this addictive absorption? I knew not.

Hiroshima after the bomb...

When I left school I had to work. I had no clue about what I wanted to do and career counselling had not been invented then. Suddenly I discovered radiography which involves the use of X-rays, one of radiation, for positive humanitarian purposes, ie medical diagnosis. That was it! I persevered until I got a position as a trainee radiographer with no real clue about what the work entailed. I was totally driven by my obsession with radiation. Although I moved on from radiography many years ago, like port, I have never lost my fascination for the subject. I have even been to Hiroshima where you can still see first-hand some of the consequences of so much destructive power arrogantly unleashed in total ignorance of the consequences.

As US Army General Leslie Groves later commented:

“America’s leaders were generally inured to the mass killing of civilians.”