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Photos of Los Alamos, New Mexico

For those of you who don't know me, I'm one of the regulars on Watching Wyrd and I visit unusual locations for Wyrd News. Every other week, I post photos of some of the sites I've visited. Last week, to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the detonation of the first atomic bomb on 16 July 1945, I posted photos of my visit to Trinity Site. This week I'll be covering Los Alamos in northern New Mexico where the physics for the Fat Man and Little Boy weapons was calculated and the devices constructed.

Prior to World War II, Los Alamos' only claim to fame was the Los Alamos Ranch School, a private school for boys founded in 1917 and located in an isolated region of northern New Mexico. Shortly after the initiation of the Manhattan Project, the highly secret effort by the U.S. military to develop an atomic bomb, the government began looking for an area where they could conduct their research away from the prying eyes of the media and foreign intelligence services. Los Alamos was the ideal place. The government purchased the land in November 1942 and, after the last class graduated from the Ranch School in January 1943, began construction of what would come to be known as Atomic City. Family members were allowed to stay with the scientists but were not permitted to leave the compound. Los Alamos quickly became a self-sustaining community with its own stores, schools, and amenities (see below).

Today, Los Alamos National Laboratory is located on side of the canyon that runs through the city and the town on the other. The area depicted in the above photo is now the town center. Ashley Pond, in the upper right, and the surrounding streets look a lot different today than they did in 1945.

Some historical locations from World War II remain in Los Alamos. Below is the house lived in by Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist in charge of the Manhattan Project.

This is the residence of George Kistiakowsky, the Ukrainian-born physical chemistry professor, and his wife. Kistiakowsky developed the explosive shaped charges that crushed the plutonium core of the Fat Man device into a critical mass, making for a more destructive weapon.

Below are the Ranch School and its guest cottage where visitors to Los Alamos stayed during the Manhattan Project.

This is Baker House, the residence of James Chadwick, the head of the British delegation assigned to the Manhattan Project.

An interesting place to visit is the Ray Bradbury Science Museum which contains several exhibits on the history of the Manhattan project. That's me, Chubby Dude, between replicas of the Fat Man and Little Boy atomic devices (named in honor of Winston Churchill and FDR, respectively).

I was in Los Alamos on government business back in 2008. Unfortunately, photography was prohibited at the labs, nor can I discuss what I was doing there. I fell in love with the town and spent an entire day driving around, getting a feel for the place and taking photographs. It's the reason I set Yeitso in Los Alamos. The below photographs are of the mesas surrounding the region.

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