Philip Morrison, Witness to Atomic History

Mary Palevsky

in Atomic Fragments

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2000 | ISBN: 9780520220553
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923652 | DOI:
Philip Morrison, Witness to Atomic History

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On December 6, 1945, four months after Hiroshima, physicist Philip Morrison testified before Senator Brien McMahon's Special Committee on Atomic Energy, created to investigate problems relating to the development, use, and control of atomic energy. Morrison, like many atomic scientists, was deeply concerned about the postwar meaning of the bomb long before the senators heard the faintest rumblings of the weapon's thunder, and emphasized that the atomic bomb was more than a new weapon; it was a revolution in war making, and therefore in history. The author met him in his office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This chapter presents Morrison's views on the race for the development of the atomic bomb; the decision to use the bomb on Japanese cities; his participation in the Manhattan Project; and his chosen role as a witness and a chronicler of these world-changing events.

Keywords: Brien McMahon; Philip Morrison; atomic energy; Hiroshima; war making; atomic bomb; Manhattan Project

Chapter.  9275 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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