A typical explosives experiment fired in front of the PHERMEX bunker produces a brilliant fireball long after the hydrodynamics measurements have been recorded. PHERMEX was the location for more than 1,000 hydrotests and was the premier radiographic test facility during the Cold War. Courtesy/LANL
For more than 70 years, Los Alamos National Laboratory has been a frontrunner in explosives research, development and applications. To highlight the Laboratory’s work in the field of explosives, the Bradbury Science Museum is opening a new exhibit titled “The Science of Explosives” at 4 p.m., Sept. 18.
“The science of high explosives was born at Los Alamos on July 4, 1943 when the physicist Seth Neddermeyer conducted his first implosion experiment to test a theoretical concept,” said Cary Skidmore of Los Alamos’ Detonator Technology Group. “Since that time, theory, experiment and simulation have combined at Los Alamos to effectively lead the world in many aspects of explosives science, technology and safety.”
“Building a scientific understanding of high explosives has been a core capability of Los Alamos National Laboratory since the Manhattan Project,” said Bradbury Science Museum Director Linda Deck. “Today the Laboratory continues to ‘write the book’ on these energetic materials, and we’re excited to be able to present this work in our new exhibit.”
The exhibit shows in pictures, words and videos how decades of cutting-edge research has made the Laboratory a worldwide leader in explosives applications. It will feature the Laboratory’s work with explosives, from synthesis of new molecules to waste treatment. It also examines a variety of scenarios with many applications, ranging from explosives assessment and lethality to detonation and wave physics and blast effects.
“The Laboratory’s mission areas require full-spectrum energetic materials capability and expertise. From bench-top to large-scale experimentation, a broad suite of diagnostic, modeling and simulation capabilities are employed to evaluate weapon response and performance,” Dan Hooks of the Laboratory’s Weapon Engineering and Experiments Directorate said.
Before the exhibit opening, Skidmore and Hooks will give a lecture on explosives noon to 1 p.m., Sept. 18. It is free and open to the public; attendees are welcome to bring a lunch to the talk. Admission to the Bradbury Science Museum is always free and the public is welcome to attend. Photography is allowed at the opening.
Mensa, an internationally recognized high-IQ society, recently named the Bradbury Science Museum as one of its top 10 “Favorite Science Museums.”