ID306  The Sky Is Burning: The Advent of the Nuclear Age

Hiram Weekend College

Tues. Apr. 20

A. The Science Behind the Bomb

  1. Discovery of Radioactivity
  2. Discovery of the Nucleus (Rutherford's Gold Foil)
  3. Fission: Changing Mass to Energy
  4. Current Views of the Atom

B. World War II

  1. The Nazi Threat in Europe
  2. A Nuclear Race with the Germans
  3. Norwegian Heavy Water

C. Ethics and Uses of Scientific Knowledge

Readings from Rhodes "The Making of the Atomic Bomb": pp. 13-15 (¶3), 23 (¶2 )-52, 81 (last ¶) -95 (middle of the page), 100 (1st full ¶) -103, 134-141 (the break), ch. 7, 168-197, ch. 9, 233-275, 303-317, 321 (¶2) -327, 346 (¶2 - ¶4), 355-356

Video from CBS on Norwegian Interference with Germans

Sat. Apr. 24 The Players: Scientists and Politicians

  1. Churchill
  2. Truman
  3. Stalin
  4. Hirohito
  5. Stimpson
  1. Oppenheimer
  2. General Groves
  3. Albert Einstein
  4. Leo Szilard
  5. Edward Teller

Paper 1: Two pages per player outlining your understanding of his personality and background and how these played a role in the decision making process.

Role play the decision making process. Questions: whether to drop the bomb or invade; whether to make the bomb

Readings from Rhodes: pp. 357-383, 383-389, 389-393, 401-407, 423-428, 443-455, 457-459, 459-468, 481-485, 505-512, 512-517, 522-538, 605-610. Also read the handout, Chapter 8, The Burdens of Power: The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb

Video: "The Day After Trinity" - J. Robert Oppenheimer story

Tues. Apr. 27 The Development, Testing and Dropping of the Bomb

  1. Procurement and Useable Uranium
  2. Secret Cities--Los Alamos, Oak Ridge
  3. The Scientific Process-Openness vs Secrecy
  4. Nevada Test Sites and Military Guinea Pigs
  5. The Enola Gay and Bock's Car, The Crews, The Cargo
  6. Hiroshima, Nagasaki--the chosen targets

Readings from Rhodes: pp. 407 (¶2)-415 (¶1), 468 (¶3)-476 (¶1), 500 (¶2)-top 505, 517 (¶4)-521, 554 (¶2)-bot 556, 561-564, 564-573 (¶1), 580 (¶3)-582 (¶2), 592 (¶3)-593 (¶2), bot 593-600 (¶1), 610 (¶3)-614, 617-624, 624-651, 651-678

Video: "Fat Man and Little Boy"

Due: Paper 2a on some aspect of the development of the bomb (may choose paper 2b instead)

Tues. May 4 Japan

  1. Japan's View of the War
  2. Pearl Harbor
  3. Hiroshima and Nagasaki--the after effects
  4. The Bombs' Influence on Japanese Society

Readings from Rhodes: Part Three, chs 18, 19, Epilogue

Video: "Black Rain"

Music: Fred Small "Cranes over Hiroshima"

Due: Paper 2b on some aspect of Japan in WWII (if you did paper 2a, you do not need to complete this assignment)

Sat. May 8 The Bombs' Reverberations

  1. Environmental
  2. Political--The Cold War
  3. Social
  4. Scientific

Readings: Newspaper and Magazine Articles

Interview with Joe Denham - a Trinity eyewitness

Video: "Nuclear War: A Guide to Armageddon", "Atom: Year of Purpose"

Music: Fred Small--"Dig a Hole in the Ground", Pete Seeger "Old Man Atom", Kate Wolf or Simon and Garfunkel "The Sky is Burning"

Due: Paper 3 on life since the bomb

Tues. May 11 Fiction and the Future

Reading: A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Due: Course Journals

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