August 6, 2016
Today is the seventy-first anniversary of the atomic explosion that led to the end of WWII. The Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 bomber, released the Uranium-235 bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. It detonated at 2,000 feet above the ground, destroying most of the city and leading to the deaths of 200,000 people. The co-pilot wrote in his journal, “My God. What have we done?”
Dr. Michihiko Hachiya described the horror from his vantage point near ground zero in his book Hiroshima Diary, which I read as a teenager and which stimulated my interest in pursuing a career in medicine.
The creation of the device was the culmination of research by a team of scientists led by J Robert Oppenheimer within the Manhatten Project. The Soviet Union had a parallel program during WWII, and with the help of spies, developed and exploded their own atomic bomb four years after the Hiroshima event.