Below is a photo I took (you can see my reflection on the fuselage) of the, Enola Gay, now on exhibit at Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia. The Enola Gay was the airplane that dropped the first atomic bomb on August, 6 1945 on the Japanese city of Hiroshima killing 70,000 people in less than a second and tens of thousands more from radiation by the end of that year. The bombing of Hiroshima and that of another Japanese City, Nagasaki, 3 days later ended the Second World War and ushered the nuclear age setting in motion political, social, and cultural changes what would reshape the world forever affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
In a segment of a CNN documentary below the last surviving member of the Enola Gay crew, Theodore Van Kirk (1921-2014), reminisced about the war and the bombing.
The nuclear age also had dramatic effects on science in terms of new scientific discoveries and applications as well as the way science was conducted. The names of many of the physicist who worked on the Manhattan project, which produced the first atomic bomb for the United States, have become the stuff of legend being celebrated or vilified in movies, word, and song. Among them stands out the scientific director of the Manhattan project, Robert Oppenheimer, who upon the explosion of the first atomic bomb famously remembered a line from the Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”.
The photo of the Enola Gay belongs to the author and can only be used with permission.