Manhattan Project: ‘Jupiter’ Ep. 210 Discussion

Courtesy photo
 
Los Alamos Historical Society News:
 
 
WGN MANHATTAN PROJET 
 
 
Was there a storm before the test?
 
There were thunderstorms before the test, which raised the threat of cancellation.
 
Unlike in the episode, there were weathermen monitoring the situation and advising leaders on the suitability of the conditions.
 
Jack Hubbard was the chief meteorologist, and on his recommendation the test was postponed from its planned 4:00 a.m. detonation because of rain and lightning.
 
In his journal from that day, Hubbard wrote that “At 4:40 I called [Kenneth] Bainbridge at the base of the tower and told him the winds were now steady and within acceptable limits and the atmosphere was rapidly clearing and stable enough to test.”
 
The test was then rescheduled for 5:30 a.m.
 
Was there betting?
 
As Helen did in the episode, scientists placed bets on the yield of the gadget. Enrico Fermi scared the soldiers by taking side bets on whether the atmosphere would ignite (which scientists had already calculated to be nearly impossible).
 
Edward Teller placed the largest bet of 45 kilotons of TNT, while Norton Ramsey bet on a dud. I. I. Rabi won the pool with his bet of 18 kilotons (the yield was 20 kilotons).
 
Did music interfere with the PA system?
 
In the episode, jazz from the Voice of America from San Antonio broke through the PA system because of Frank’s rewiring, and later in the tower strains from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker are heard in the background.
 
For the real Trinity Test, the radio frequency used to communicate between the ground and B-29s in the air was shared with the Voice of America, and the FM radios on the ground shared a frequency with a broadcast coming out of San Antonio.
 
The Nutcracker was played over the PA system because of this interference, breaking into the final countdown.
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