Thursday, July 1, 2010

Spliting "The Atom"

On July 1st 1946 at 0900 the first of three planned atomic bomb tests were conducted at the Bikini atoll in the Marshall islands of the Pacific Ocean. This first test was named Able. For Able a 23 kiloton device was detonated at an altitude of 520 feet. The Able bomb was called Gilda and decorated with the likeness of Rita Hayworth. Due to a small targeting error ground zero for Able was right over the empty transport ship Gillian.

Within months Louis Réard (a french automobile engineer turned lingerie salesman) would design the world’s smallest swimsuit and call it “The Bikini”. According to Réard a two-piece suit wasn't a genuine Bikini "unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring”.

Between 1946 and 1958, twenty-three nuclear devices were detonated at Bikini Atoll. The most famous of which was the March 1st 1954 detonation of the first hydrogen bomb (a 15 megaton device called “shrimp”) in the Castle Bravo test.

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