The Manhattan Project
The year 1939 was disastrous in more ways than one. Many people believe that the worse thing to happen at that time was the start of the Second World War. There is no arguing the fact that this event was a true tragedy. However, 1939 also was the year when the Manhattan Project was established. The results produced by this research project changed the world forever.
Despite the fact that it was established in 1939, the Project became truly active in 1942. From that moment, it took the scientists involved in it three years to develop the nuclear bombs that were used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The moment the first of these deadly weapons went off, the world learned of the incredible destructive power of this weapon. The ferocity of the explosions literally wiped the cities off from the face of the planet. This alerted the leaders of many countries to the enormity of the threat this weapon presents, and triggered the establishment of regulations that limit the use of nuclear power.
Three countries were involved in the Manhattan Project. They were Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. When the research was at its peak, there were 130,000 people involved in it. The total cost of the project is said to have been over two billion dollars. Although there were several projects involved in the research, the creation of nuclear weapons was the primary objective, and received 90% of the total funding. The project was closed in 1947 after the United States Atomic Energy Commission was formed. There are some reports that claim the research program’s security was breached, and some Soviet spies managed to penetrate it to steal some information.
The legacy left by the Manhattan Project exists today, in the form of a network of laboratories that are still used. However, the extolled weapon that came out of these labs doesn’t have as much support as it used to. The repercussions of having this bomb fall into the wrong hands have finally been realized. There was, however, a good thing that came out of this research. Closer study of nuclear physics allowed scientists to create radioactive isotopes that are widely used in medicine to diagnose and treat cancer.
Nuclear energy changed many industries and opened numerous opportunities for progress. The Manhattan Project played an important part in the development of this particular industry. It showed people a glimpse of what could be achieved by using this great source of power. It also showed how dangerous it will be if this power is wielded by someone with malicious intentions.
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