» Recall from Greek mythology how Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to man for human use.
As punishment for this transgression, Zeus, the king of the gods, the guy who has been known to toss a lightning bolt or two, had Prometheus bound to a rock, where each day Zeus's pet-eagle would come feed on his liver (.. which naturally grew back overnight).
Zeus was obviously *not* happy.
In 6th grade I had a class on Ancient History, which included a little Greek mythology.
The obvious question here (which no one thought to ask) » "What's wrong with man having fire?"
Despite my obvious interest in (and fascination with) Nuclear power, I have never delved into the bomb-making aspect.
I figured that a nuclear bomb is merely a commercial nuclear reactor re-configured (re-packaged?) in such a way as to release all the energy AT ONCE (.. with that mesmerizing mushroom cloud) .. instead of over a period of 25 or 30 years.
From the library last year, I checked out an audio book which bore the intriguing title » American Prometheus, subtitled » "The Triumph & Tragedy of J Robert Oppenheimer" (© 2005).
» Politics Plays a Big Part (Too Big for Me, at First)
Despite the fact that this book won the Pulitzer (2006), and that the authors (two of them) spent an amazing 25 years researching the material ..
.. and that the story deals with the development of nuclear energy, and that I have always loved biographies (.. cuz people are so darn interesting, especially learning what makes them tick) ..
.. I nevertheless could not get into this book ..
.. cuz it starts with so much political stuff ..
.. that surrounded the man, the bomb, the era, especially the post-bomb years.
I have actually checked out the audio book a few times, but could never stomach the political stuff long enough to continue.
I was interested in the technology, the science, the people involved in building the bomb. "Enough politics!" I would cry in frustration. "Let's build the stupid bomb, already!"
Well .. I finally made it past the politics .. and we are now building the bomb. And I can see why the authors began where they did (.. at a point well AFTER the bomb had been built, tested & "successfully deployed") .. because the political aspects (ramifications) paint the scene for the action of the bomb-making.
They set the scene for you before introducing the characters, which enriches the story considerably later on. But you first need to get past the political set-up (.. which can turn your stomach).
» Perhaps My Favorite Book - Ever (Still Reading)
Truly a remarkably story. My preferences tend to change with mood, but this might be the most interesting story I've EVER read (.. certainly seems that way today).
I am no historian, but I have taken a gander up & down the century .. and I can see no more defining story. Can you?
The bomb is 67 years old .. same year Oppenheimer lived to . So the bomb is not yet 100 years old. Not yet a single century.
There are people walking the streets today who are older than the bomb .. can remember what life was like back then .. before the bomb. It's story does not represent the most encouraging or uplifting of ideas .. things to ponder.
A story which revolves around a remarkable man .. a "real genius" (.. among other geniuses, including a ridiculous number of Nobelists). I am now surprised at myself that I hadnt looked into this story sooner (.. than last year).
What makes this story so engaging .. is that it 'speaks' on numerous levels .. scientifically, morally, ethically, militarily, politically, industrially, culturally, ethnically, atomically, cosmically, religiously, spiritually, suicidally, etc.
The story itself is so remarkably VAST and sweeping that there is no way I could capture it all in a single entry. [ Nor will I try. You can read the book yourself. ]
But there ARE some key observations I'd like to point out.