By Mary Palevsky

More than such a lot folks, Mary Palevsky had to come to phrases with the ethical complexities of the atomic bomb: Her mom and dad labored on its improvement in the course of global struggle II and have been profoundly replaced via that have. when they died, unanswered questions despatched their daughter on a look for realizing. This compelling, occasionally heart-wrenching chronicle is the tale of that quest. It takes her, and us, on a trip into the minds, stories, and feelings of the bomb builders.

Scientists Hans Bethe, Edward Teller, Joseph Rotblat, Herbert York, Philip Morrison, and Robert Wilson, and thinker David Hawkins answered to Palevsky's own process in a manner that dramatically expands their formerly released statements. Her ability and keenness as an interlocutor steered those males to keep in mind their lives vividly and to reexamine their very own judgements, debating inside of themselves the complicated matters raised through the bomb.

the writer herself, looking to understand the commonly differing ways that person scientists made offerings in regards to the bomb and made feel in their paintings, deeply reconsiders these questions of dedication and moral sense her mom and dad confronted. In own vignettes that supplement the interviews, she captures different remembrances of the bomb via commemorative occasions and probability encounters with those that have been "there." Her concluding bankruptcy reframes the an important ethical questions in phrases that express the questions themselves to be the abiding legacy all of us percentage. This fantastically written ebook bridges generations to make its readers contributors within the ongoing discussion approximately technological know-how and philosophy, struggle and peace.

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Extra resources for Atomic Fragments: A Daughter's Questions

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My mother told me that although she loved the house, she could no longer maintain it by herself, without my father's help. But she failed to reveal her own secret: her body was already being weakened by the cancer that would soon take her life. I remember a conversation my mother and I had, almost in passing, during that holiday visit. We were probably cleaning, or preparing dinner. Earlier in the day, some of my childhood friends had stopped by for a visit. I had read in their faces the shock at my father's premature aging; however, they had been too polite to say anything.

Then I remembered William A. Higinbotham, a Brookhaven scientist whom I had also known from childhood. Willy had been my father's group leader at the Manhattan Project's Los Alamos laboratory. After the war they were active in the atomic scientists' movement as members of the Federation of American Scientists, of which Willy was a founder and guiding light. During the 1950S the Hughes, Higinbotham, and Palevsky families all lived on the same Long Island country road. When my father retired, Willy wrote a letter remembering his scientific work.

The pieces would fit together perfectly. Other times, like shards from long-buried vessels, the edges were worn down, the shapes changed, the colors muted. I could not possibly know whether I had put them together as they once were. Then I relied on my own imagination and judgment, my particular sense of form. One moment everything seemed to achieve a kind of unity. At others I stepped between the pieces into emptiness and was shattered. What had made sense lost meaning, my wholeness dissolved, I walked without bearings.

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