NNSA: Commemorating 75 Years Since The ‘Trinity’ Test Introduced The Atomic Age

Trinity Test 75th Anniversary Video (with introduction by John Sarrao, Los Alamos National Laboratory Deputy Director of Science, Technology, and Engineering). Courtesy/NNSA

NNSA News:

  • NNSA Administrator visits test’s New Mexico birthplace to mark the occasion

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) recognized the 75th anniversary of the dawn of the atomic age, which began July 16, 1945, with the “Trinity” test, the world’s first nuclear detonation.

A commemoration of the historic implosion took place today, July 16, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s historic V-Site near Los Alamos, where early testing and some assembly of the Trinity device took place. The V-Site is located in a secure area and is not open to the public.

“Beyond the advances in nuclear physics and chemistry that made the first functional, atomic device possible, Trinity was arguably the greatest scientific experiment ever conducted,” said Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and U.S. Undersecretary of Energy for Nuclear Security.

Inspired by the poetry of John Donne, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Los Alamos Laboratory director at the time, code-named the test “Trinity”. The plutonium device, nicknamed “The Gadget”, became the prototype for the “Fat Man” bomb that was detonated in August 1945.

The U.S., British, and Canadian scientists involved with the test launched the world into the atomic age—an era of scientific and technological innovation that has continued for more than seven decades. Twenty Manhattan Project researchers collected Nobel Prizes for their work before, during, and after the war.

Scientific advancements achieved by the NNSA since the Trinity test include plutonium research, advanced imaging techniques, critical assembly experiments, stockpile safety, plutonium alloying and metallurgy, the Bethe-Feynman formula to estimate fissile yield, foundational radiochemical yield analysis, and new frontiers in computing.

Refer to the following hyperlinks to learn more about this anniversary observance:  

About NNSA

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile; works to reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and militarily effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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