Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Atomic Aliens in Nevada

Landed in Las Vegas.
Picked up car after ridiculously long lines and a free upgrade to SuperBug.
Stopped for lunch at very tasty but overpriced Indian restaurant.

What do you do upon arrival in Sin City?

Go to the National Atomic Testing Museum of course.
Stranger still, it was my choice!

Science was most definitely not my forte in school. I took physics GCSE purely because I had to take one science and it was the only one that fit in with my schedule. Boy, was I glad to be done with that. And there, at the age of 15, ended my scientific education.

But a few years ago, I was hired by some folks at the University of Kentucky to write a history of a gaseous diffusion plant in Paducah. My lack of scientific knowledge was just what they wanted - someone able to translate the dry engineering talk into something people would want to read. For the next few months, I researched and studied the development of the plant, its impact on the local community, the history of the Manhattan Project, and so on. It was absolutely fascinating.

Since then I've had a strong interest in the social history surrounding the atomic bomb so sign me up for a visit to the National Atomic Testing Museum.

You can find plenty of info about the museum online, as well as reviews, so I'm not going to add a bunch of info here. However, if you go, and I do recommend it, be aware that the museum is very pro-atomic bomb. To my disappointment, there was no mention of several topics that could have made interesting counterpoints - after-effects in the South Pacific, changes of opinion among some of the project's architects, etc. Nevertheless, it is an incredibly detailed attraction, and well worth a few hours of your time.

Nic meets a friend at the Atomic Testing Museum.
The museum also featured a visiting exhibit about Area 51 and aliens - lots of newspaper clips and news footage of sightings. Whether you believe in alien life or not, it was a fun addition.

It was also the perfect prequel to our planned trip on Sunday... to Area 51.

Come back tomorrow to see if we find any extraterrestrial life.

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