Talk:Trinity (nuclear test)

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Crazy-ass reference[edit]

A recent paper (P.P. Parekh; T.M. Semkow, M.A. Torres, D.K. Haines, J.M. Cooper, P.M. Rosenberg and M.E. Kitto (2006). "Radioactivity in Trinitite six decades later". Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 85 (1): 103–120. doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2005.01.017. PMID 16102878.  ) reports the levels of long-lived radioisotopes in the trinitite. The trinitite was formed from feldspar and quartz melted by the heat. The 152Eu and 154Eu was mainly formed by the neutron activation of europium in the soil; it is clear that the level of radioactivity for these isotopes is highest where the neutron dose to the soil was larger. Some of the 60Co is generated by activation of the cobalt in the soil, but some was also generated by the activation of the cobalt in the steel (100 ft) tower. This 60Co from the tower would have been scattered over the site, reducing the difference in the soil levels.

The 133Ba and 241Am are from the neutron activation of barium and plutonium inside the bomb. The barium was present in the form of the barium nitrate in the baratol explosive used in the explosive lenses, while the plutonium was the fissile fuel used.

The 137Cs level is higher in the sample which was farther away from the ground zero point; this is thought to be because the precursors to the 137Cs (137I and 137Xe) and the cesium to a lesser degree are volatile. The natural radioisotopes in the glass are about the same in both locations.

It's a lot of text, i felt bad just deleting it though it doesn't belong in the citation text. Dumping here in case it should be incorporated into the article. Larryisgood (talk) 13:18, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

reference #31 appears to be dead[edit]

  1. 31 The Trinity Test: Eyewitnesses returns a 404. Could anyone find the material the reference linked to originally? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:28, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Focus of article[edit]

The article has too much on the weapon and the Manhattan Project, duplicating what is in other articles, but not enough on the test itself. For example, there is nothing about the cover story that the Trinity test was an ammunition dump blowing up. Would anyone object to my doing some major cuts? I know about BRD, but this one has been stable for quite a time. Figureofnine (talk) 17:20, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Agreed, it is full of superfluity. If we removed all the stuff from Manhattan Project, Fat Man, Nuclear weapon design and Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the article could be cut at least in half. This would then allow major improvements to the article. Bomazi (talk) 09:27, 12 August 2011 (UTC)


I believe that Alamagordo in the text should be Alamogordo. Ae1083t (talk) 16:32, 18 June 2011 (UTC) David Adamson

That's right, but I'm not finding an incorrect spelling in the text. Figureofnine (talk) 18:55, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Timing of the 'atmosphere ignition' report[edit]

In the Gadget section it says:

'It was feared by some that the Trinity test might "ignite" the earth's atmosphere, eliminating all life on the planet, although a classified report produced several years earlier had demonstrated that this was not possible.[17]'

The report in reference 17 seems to have been written in 1946 (, a year after the test, so I think this should be re-worded to remove the reference.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Ggaughan (talkcontribs) 07:02, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Although this is not a reliable reference, I once attended a talk by Richard Hamming, the inventor of the Hamming code. In WWII, he was assigned to the Manhatten project, and one of his job was to do this particular calculation. When he showed it to his boss, the boss said thanks and laid the report on a pile of other papers. Hamming asked "Aren't you going to check my work?" and his boss said "I assure you that if you are wrong no-one will complain." So this particular calculation was done before the test, and I believe that given the impact of the problem, several groups were asked to do this calculation. LouScheffer (talk) 12:11, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Here's a reference to doing the calculation before the test, though the report may be after Mathematics on a Distant Planet, by Hamming. LouScheffer (talk) 13:43, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Interesting - another pioneering computer scientist working on Manhattan. It's good they did the calculations before the test. It does seem that reference 17 isn't that report from 'several years earlier' though. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ggaughan (talkcontribs) 21:54, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I've heard that the reason for the report in 1946 was to provide some proof of due diligence after the fact and to support the development of Teller's SuperBomb (thermonuke). My understanding from informal sources is that Bethe was assigned the problem by Oppenheimer (see soon after arriving at Los Alamos, and that Hamming did a later calculation at the request of another physicist (as he relates in the reference). SkoreKeep (talk) 06:32, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
OK, I did this. LouScheffer (talk) 12:23, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Where was Oppenheimer?[edit]

The article currently states: "Two bunkers were set up to observe the test. Oppenheimer and Brig. Gen. Thomas Farrell watched from a bunker ten miles (16 km) from the detonation, while Gen. Leslie Groves watched at a bunker seventeen miles (27 km) away.", First of all, this does not match this map: Additionally this page on the DOE website suggests Oppenheimer watched the explosion with Kistiakowsky at the south shelter only 10,000 yards from ground zero, while Groves watched from the 10-mile base camp:*/ (go back to any time prior to 2011, because the page disappeared in early 2011)

Actually, the distances are off by a factor of about 1.6, suggesting that somebody may have gotten sloppy in copying distances in kilometers into this Wikipedia article and saying they were miles, while the new additional conversion to kilometers may have been added later by another editor. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:03, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

The book "The Making of the Atomic Bomb", an excellent reference, has Oppenhiemer at 10,000 yards (9.1km, 5.7 miles) and Groves at base camp (10 miles, 16 km). I changed the article... LouScheffer (talk) 19:36, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

General Patton[edit]

"A Mojave Desert Army base near Rice, California was considered the best location, but was opted against because General Leslie Groves, military head of the project, did not wish to have any dealings with Gen. George S. Patton, commander of the base, whom he disliked.[19] "

According to Patton's wikipedia article, in 1944-5, Patton was very busy in Europe - what would he be doing commanding a base in the USA? (talk) 00:06, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

I agree that it seems odd, and I noticed that myself. But it is reliably sourced to the National Atomic Museum in Albuquerque. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 17:30, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
It's not reliable if it isn't true. Patton was in Europe fighting the Germans from 1942 to after the Trinity tests. He came home briefly in 1945, but only to visit, then returned to Europe where he served in the occupation forces before being relieved of his command. He died of complications from an automobile accident in late 1945. The Atomic museum is not a military history, so not sure why this is being cited as "reliable". Recommend a second source be sought for this. It's mostly gossip at this stage. (talk) 21:56, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
Here's another reference with the same statement. LouScheffer (talk) 00:55, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
Earlier in the war, Patton personally set up a training base for desert warfare. Although he was obviously not personally running it later in the war, I'd guess it was possible he was the supervisor of the guy who was. In this case he might still need to be consulted. Surely military records would indicate if this was the case, but I have no idea how to check. LouScheffer (talk) 13:19, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
I have verified that the ultimate source of all of these is Ferenc Szasz's The Day the Sun Rose Twice, p. 28. Now I need to locate a copy or this book and look up where he got it from. Hawkeye7 (talk) 20:08, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
It may be that Groves was worried Patton might somehow get wind of the test, from "his people" at that base, and didn't want to answer any inquiries from Patton about it. At the time, Patton would not have had any supervisory ties to the base, as his command was elsewhere in Europe. HammerFilmFan (talk) 17:57, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Fallout map[edit]

Fallout around the Trinity site in Röntgens. The radioactive cloud moved towards the northeast with high radiation levels within about 100 miles (160 km).

I find the fallout map quite puzzling and therefore dubious. For starters, I would expect fallout to be measured in units of curies per unit area, and not in roentgens. Furthermore, I would expect a time after the test to be given, such as integrated dose measurements one year after the explosion, or suchlike. Some of the doses given seem very high for such a broad area. For instance, the dose for >5.0 roentgens seems to cover a very large area, and I would expect the death rate for such does (i.e. on the order of 5000 millirem) to quite noticeable, but no mention is made of deaths due to fallout in the article.

Lastly and most importantly, no pedigree is given for these numbers. Are they measurements? If so, where is the primary reference for the data? Are they calculations? Again where is the primary reference for them? Does WP:OR apply here? If not, how do we know? Rwflammang (talk) 02:18, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

Ha, ha, I had the exact same concerns. I didn't read your views until I removed the suspect graphic. As to the 5 R region on the map, 5 R is not a major issue as far as causing deaths per se. People don't typically die from radiation sickness until they receive the equivalent of 200 to 800 R in an acute dose. 500 R is the accepted LD50 dose.
So here is the dud map. It needs some work, but it could be useful if cleaned up. I like to saw logs! (talk) 05:08, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Fireball or Pressure Wave?[edit]

The picture at the top of the page states that the image is of the fireball from detonation. Now, I'm not disputing this, but it seems a bit big, not to mention remarkably smooth and symmetrical? To grow 600 feet across within 16 milliseconds, and so perfectly round and smooth? Also, the trees in front of the fireball should be in full blaze from the radiant heat in front of the fire? I would think it's more likely to be the pressure wave, as it has been stated in several diffrent sources that the blast compressed the air until it was visible to the naked eye, something which would also make a smooth and symmetrical 'ball' as the pressure grew in all directions at once. However, I do not KNOW, so if someone could answer/prove me wrong, please do. (talk) 21:19, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

It is indeed a picture of the fireball. The pressure front initially grows more slowly than the fireball, then overtakes it and detaches from it. You can see this clearly in Trinity_Test_Fireball_62ms.jpg. Bomazi (talk) 20:38, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

One pool or many[edit]

The bit talking about betting pools starts of saying there were multiple pools (suggesting there was a culture of gambling around it) but ends talking about one specific pool. Which one is it? I don't know, but perhaps someone who knows can make this section consistent?

Lucaswilkins (talk) 03:50, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

OK, clarified this using info from Rhodes, "The Making of the Atomic Bomb", a very solid (and readable) reference. LouScheffer (talk) 14:16, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
I have a copy of Rhodes here (paperback edition, 1986). Quote from page 656:
"The senior men arranged a betting pool with a $1 entry fee, wagering on the explosive yield. Edward Teller optimistically picked 45,000 tons of TNT equivalent. Hans Bethe picked 8,000 tons, Kistiakowski 1,400. Oppenheimer picked a modest 3,300 tons. Norman Ramsey picked a cynical zero. When I. I. Rabi arrived a few days before the test the only bet left was 18,000 tons; whether or not he believed this to be the Trinity yield, he picked it."

Page 664:

"With the weather [on the night before the 5:00 AM scheduled firing] turning from stagnant to violent, and everyone short of sleep, moods swung at base camp. The occasion of Fermi's satire that evening made Bainbridge furious. It merely irritated General Groves:

'I had become a bit annoyed with Fermi; ...when he suddenly offered to take wagers from his fellow scientists on whether or not the bomb would ignite the atmosphere, and if so, whether it would merely destroy New Mexico or if it would destroy the world. ....'
"Bainbridge was furious because Fermi's "thoughtless bravado" might scare the soldiers, who did not have benefit of the knowledge of thermonuclear ignition temperatures and fireball cooling effects. But a new force was about to be loosed on the world, no one could be absolutely certain -- Fermi's point -- of the outcome of the debut."
It would appear that there was at least two separate betting incidents, one of them a mock teasing possibly with a more serious point, the other a straight numbers pool. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SkoreKeep (talkcontribs) 07:40, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

who was there?[edit]

can some one tell me who was at the site? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:42, 8 March 2013 (UTC)


I've heard a few mentions of a story that some sort of radio interference made a radio station playing Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings cut into the military channels during the Trinity test. Does anyone have references on whether or not this is simply urban legend, and if so, is it noteworthy enough for inclusion? It seems quite widespread, even if people usually recount it with the qualifier that it is probably just a good story. -- (talk) 15:00, 18 June 2013 (UTC)


I have begun the process of expansion of the article to bring it up to FAC. It will be unstable for a couple of weeks. Most of the sections of the article will be greatly expanded. Hawkeye7 (talk) 21:47, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Two Sections named explosion[edit]

Sections 3 and 4 are both named explosion, which is clearly undesirable. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:29, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Trinity (nuclear test)/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Protonk (talk · contribs) 20:24, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Overall the article is very good. It uses the sources I would expect, covers the subject well and is structured appropriately. The images used are high quality and the manual of style is followed throughout. The only problems I see are in terms of prose clarity and concision. I've listed individual issues below in a line-by-line fashion. It seems like a lot, but that's mainly for two reasons. First, the article is long (as it should be) so any close reading is going to generate a lot of comments. Second, rather than say "I think this section can be improved", I've tried to offer specific suggestions and comments so editors can address them quickly and easily. I think that with some concerted copyediting this article should be a GA pretty quickly.


  • "The railroad siding at Pope, New Mexico..." wikilink railroad siding to Siding (rail)




  • "The new test site, named the White Sands Proving Ground..." why is it a "new" test site?
    • YesY deleted "new". Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:08, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • the portion in the lede about the test site could better be moved to the end. This way we have the intro paragraph, a discussion of the device, the test, then the disposition of the test site brings us up to the current day.
    • YesY Shuffled the sentences around. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:08, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • We appear very certain in the lede with our attribution of Trinity to a Donne poem via Oppenheimer, but substantially less so in the body.
    • I'm open to suggestions. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:08, 23 September 2014 (UTC)


  • The abbreviated summary of the Manhattan project seems oddly summarized. We mention the Frisch–Peierls memorandum directly after a comment on the perceived infeasability of nuclear weapons. I agree their work on the fissile material was important and should be mentioned but I'm not sure we're situating it in the right way.
  • "Brigadier General Leslie R. Groves, Jr., became the director of the Project..." is the comma necessary?
    • In AusEng we wouldn't need the full stop. I put it in the USEng form that Groves used. According to the Chicago Manual of Style, USEng changed to not require the first comma in 1993, but the second comma is still required. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:08, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "It turned out that it has relatively complicated physics, chemistry, and metallurgy..." this sentence is a bit awkward. First, we say "relatively" then later say "compared to other elements". Second, why not say "physical, chemical and mettalurgical properties"?
  • "In April 1944, physicist Emilio Segrè at Los Alamos received the first sample of reactor-bred plutonium from the X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge, and discovered that it was not as pure as cyclotron-produced plutonium by a significant degree. Specifically, the longer the plutonium remained irradiated inside the reactor—which is necessary for high yields of the metal—the greater the content of the plutonium-240 isotope." I think these sentences are working too hard. That is to say if we mention that they were looking for Pu-239 but the process of breeding it led to contamination with Pu-240 I think they can be simplified.
    • YesY re-worded Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:08, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "This undergoes spontaneous fission at an appreciable rate, and that releases excess neutrons." how about "Pu-240 undergoes spontaneous fission at a higher rate than Pu-239, releasing a greater number of neutrons"
    • YesY re-worded Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:08, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "The impossibility of solving this problem of a gun-type bomb with plutonium was decided upon in a meeting..." how about "At a meeting in Los Alamos on July 17, 1994, physicists determined a gun-type bomb using plutonium was impossible..."?
    • YesY Dropped this Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:08, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "This forced the Laboratory to turn to an alternative, more practical..." how is it more practical?
    • YesY re-worded Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:08, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • " This "explosive lens" effect focused the explosive force inward with enough force to compress the plutonium core to several times its original density. This would rapidly reduce the necessary size of the critical mass of the material, making it supercritical." How about "This "explosive lens" focuses the explosive force inward with enough force to compress the plutonium core to several times its original density, rapidly reducing the necessary critical mass of material"?
  • "It would also activate a small neutron source at the center of the core, which would assure that the chain reaction began in earnest." how about "A small neutron source was also placed at the center of the core, assuring the chain reaction would begin in earnest"?
  • I'm not sure if the last paragraph in background should be past or present tense. When it's describing the operation of the implosion type bomb it's talking about a set of principles for a specific design, so that ought to be present tense (also it seems easier to write that way, at least for me.)
    • I prefer to stick to the past tense.


  • "Groves gave approval, but, in view of the immense cost of plutonium and the effort that the Manhattan Project had gone through to make it, on condition that the plutonium could be recovered." This sentence is confusing to read.
  • "However, the means of generating such a controlled reaction were uncertain, and the data obtained would not be as useful as that from a full-scale explosion." I think this sentence was written assuming the previous paragraph noted a smaller scale test, which it doesn't, really. I think the sentence "He proposed that the explosion be limited in size..." should be made more clear. Ramset proposed a small scale test to meet Groves's demand that the plutonium be recoverable. We should make that apparent to the reader.
  • "Oppenheimer therefore argued that the..." just "Oppenheimer argued the...". "therefore" can be kept if we really want to but it isn't necessary.
  • "Groves worried about how he would explain the loss of a billion dollars worth of plutonium to a Senate Committee in the event of a failure." What does Hoddeson say in pp. 174-175? I don't have the source at hand.
    • Kistiakowsky remembers that in the fall of 1944 hew and Oppenheimer were still trying to gain approval for the test from Groves, who was grumbling that he would face the wrath of a Senate committee if he lost a billion dollars worth of plutonium. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:58, 23 September 2014 (UTC)


  • "Planning for the test was assigned to..." Start this sentence with "In 1944" (or move it near the beginning), it'll read much better.
  • " It became the X-2 (Development, Engineering and Tests) Group in the August 1944 reorganisation." maybe "in an August 1944 reorganization"?
    • No, it was the the August 1944 reorganization referred to above. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:58, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "Scientists William Penney, Victor Weisskopf and Philip Moon were consultants." were they added as consultants in August 1944 or were they on the project from the beginning? IF the former, insert "brought on as", if the latter move them up to before the reorg is mentioned.
    • Yes check.svg Done They were there from the beginning. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:58, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

test site[edit]

  • "The site finally chosen, after consult on with Major General, the..." I assume the name of the major general was cut off at some point, also it should just be "after consulting with..."
    • YesY Corrected. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:58, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "As the soldiers at Trinity Site settled in, they became familiar with Socorro County." this feels odd somehow. Was it added to give some flavor?
  • "When the lead plane on a practice night raid accidentally knocked out the generator or otherwise doused the lights illuminating their target, they went in search of replacement lights, and were not informed of the presence of the Trinity base camp." This sentence is hard to follow. Here's my guess after reading it a few times. The trinity base camp was lit up and the pilots were not informed of its existence. Sometimes when the lights on night targets were out for some reason, pilots would mistake the lit trinity camp for the target and bomb them. Is that correct?
    • YesY Yes. Re-worded. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:58, 23 September 2014 (UTC)


  • "The initial calculations were carried out by Hans Bethe, Victor Weisskopf, and Joseph O. Hirschfelder. This was followed by a more detailed analysis by Henderson and Carlson,[22] who drew up a specification..." How about "The initial calculations were carried out by Hans Bethe, Victor Weisskopf, and Joseph O. Hirschfelder, followed by a more detailed analysis by Henderson and Carlson. Specifications were drawn up for..."
  • "After consulting with the railroads, Carlson produced a scaled back cylindrical design." Why is it important that the railroads were consulted? I'm assuming that steel companies were approached first and later rail companies because they had experience working with high tensile steel, but I'm not sure. It could be that they consulted the railroads based on the maximum shipping weight for a train car.
    • YesY I think that it was about what could be transported by rail. Re-worded. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:58, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "...the Navy, Babcock & Wilcox, and made something similar and were willing to give it a try." just "...Babcock & Wilcox had made something similar..."
    • YesY Re-worded. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:58, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "Even one of 100 tons of TNT (420 GJ) would..." maybe "even 100 tons"?
  • "...flying, which would be a hazard to personnel..." just "flying, presenting a hazard to..."
  • "It was therefore decided not to employ it." As a standalone thought this is not very edifying
    • Neither was Jumbo. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:58, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
      • Touche. I guess a better comment would be "I'm not sure what "it" refers to here". Protonk (talk) 12:48, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "Instead, it was hoisted up in a steel tower 800 yards (730 m) from the Gadget..." by this point in the body we have not referred to the test device itself as "the Gadget"
  • The subsequent paragraph also has to be re-worded to note this (and we should settle on "the Gadget" or "the gadget")
  • "The CM-10 group at Los Alamos also spent some time studying chemical means for then recovering the active material." this seems a bit awkward.
    • YesY Re-worded. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:58, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

100-ton test[edit]

  • "assured Bainbridge that the explosives used were not susceptible to shock, and this..." just "shock; this..."
    • YesY Re-worded. Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:10, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "Flexible tubing was threaded through the pile of boxes of explosives and a radioactive slug from Hanford with 1,000 curies (37 TBq) of beta ray activity and 400 curies (15 TBq) of gamma ray activity was dissolved, and Hempelmann poured it into the tubing." also a bit awkwardly worded.
    • YesY Re-worded. Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:10, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "This was a Boeing B-29 Superfortress from the 216th Army Air Forces Base Unit flown by the Major..." Two things. First, it's just "flown by". Second, the phrasing "this was a..." seems odd
    • YesY Re-worded. Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:10, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • " lead to approach the 5-foot (1.5 m) deep and 30-foot (9.1 m) wide blast crater, and..." don't think the comma is necessary before "and"
  • " The piezoelectric gauges correctly indicated an explosion of 108 tons of TNT (450 GJ), but Luis Walter Alvarez and Bernard Waldman's were less accurate." why is this sentence constructed this way? What were Alverez and Waldman's gauges? Why are they named and the designers/placers of the piezoelectric gauges not?
    • Airborne gauges. Added. Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:10, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Also the sentence about the 0.25 second delay should go before the mention of Alvarez and Waldman.

the gadget[edit]

  • "It gave its name to the Los Alamos Laboratory's weapon physics division, G..." Strictly speaking it can't "give its name", even metonymically. We could say "from which the Los Alamos...took their name" etc.
  • "A sphere of plutonium-gallium alloy was formed of two equal hemispheres of plutonium metal..." seems odd to specify the alloy then just call it plutonium a few words later.
    • YesY Re-worded. Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:18, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "This test brought bad news. It seemed to indicate that the test would fail." I know we mean Trinity when we say "the test" and the non-nuclear detonation of the lenses when we say "this test" but the text should be more clear.
    • YesY Re-worded. Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:18, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "This time the pit was assembled, and the high explosive lenses too." that isn't an independent clause after the conjunction.
    • YesY Re-worded. Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:18, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "Everyone knew it would fit in the hole because it had been in it before the assembly had begun" the word "it" is doing way too much work in this sentence. The same with the following two sentences.
    • YesY Re-worded. Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:18, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "as it expanded in a spherical shape" it -> the explosion


  • "Rabi, the last to arrive, eventually won the pool with..." "eventually" isn't necessary here
  • "...and pinhole cameras to record the gamma rays." either "would record" or just "the gamma rays"


  • "...light winds and low altitude and westerly winds at high altitude." presumably "light winds at low altitude"
    • YesY Corrected. Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:25, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "The observed colors of the illumination ranged from purple to green and eventually to white." did they eventually range to white or did the illumination eventually become white?
    • YesY Corrected. Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:25, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

civilian detection[edit]

  • It seems odd to say that Laurence was "aware" of the Manhattan project. Should we instead say he had been read into it? Or note his role? I agree it's valuable to not give the impression that Groves had him write the releases as a patsy (which would have been very odd), just not sure if this is the cleares way to do so.
    • YesY Laurence has appeared earlier in the article. Added a bit about him. Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:41, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "Such articles appeared in New Mexico..." when we say "such articles" what do we mean?
    • These articles? Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:41, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
      • I presume we're just referring to the el paso herald post article and the AP article, but it's possible we could be referring only to the AP article(s) (meaning they would have seen the AP stories on the wire and determined that an accidental explosion with no injuries in the desert wasn't worth printing). I didn't know so I asked. I guess a followup question would be, did east coast newspapers not follow up on the news or did they ignore the NM articles printed? Protonk (talk) 11:52, 23 September 2014 (UTC)


  • "...on Chupadera mesa where cattle grazed." I think we just need to note the name of the mesa, the next sentence gives enough information about the cattle.
  • "Patches of hair grew back discolored as white fur." did hair become fur? If not we could just say "grew back discolored white"
    • YesY We'll stick with "hair" Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:47, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "Maps of the ground dose rate pattern from the device's fallout at +1 hour, and +12 hours, after detonation are available." I think we can just say "Maps of the ground dose rate from the fallout at +1 hour and +12 hours were drawn" and let the references stand as evidence of their availablity.
  • "The physicist's knowledge of the..." we can just say "Webb's" as I don't think he has a wikipedia artcle and we don't refer to him as a physicist prior to this sentence.
  • "This incident, along with the next continental US tests in 1951 set a precedent, and in all subsequent atmospheric..." Just start a new sentence with "In all"

site today[edit]

  • "... and the remaining trinitite was disposed of." just "disposed"
    • YesY Re-worded. Hawkeye7 (talk) 12:01, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "Visitors to a Trinity Site open house..." we mention this before noting what a Trinity Site open house is (in the next paragraph)

Feel free to reply inline with comments or questions (or to note where you've made an update). I'll keep track of which comments have been addressed but if you'd like me to strike comments let me know and I can do that as well. Thanks! Protonk (talk) 03:14, 23 September 2014 (UTC)


Tweaked up the format of a couple of the citations. 7&6=thirteen () 14:10, 23 September 2014 (UTC)


Congratulations to everyone in bringing this back to GA status. As a new(?) GA, is it eligible for WP:DYK?

Some suggested hooks (more formatting needed)

  • ... that the first nuclear bomb to be detonated was hauled up with an electric winch into an oak platform and a shack made of corrugated iron?
  • ... that the first nuclear bomb to be detonated had a truckload of mattresses placed underneath it in case the winch cable broke?
  • ... that Richard Feynmann claimed to be the only person to see the first nuclear bomb explosion without protective goggles, using a truck windscreen instead?
  • ... that before the explosion of the first atomic bomb, anger was caused by one physicist scaring other staff by speculating on the chance the Earth's entire atmosphere would ignite and burn?
  • ... that for the explosion of the first ever atomic bomb, cameras were placed in bunkers only 800 yards (730 m) from ground zero, mounted on sleds so that a lead-lined Sherman tank could tow them out?
  • ... that after they saw the first atomic bomb explosion, Bainbridge told Oppenheimer, "Now we are all sons of bitches"?
  • ... that a U.S. transport aircraft pilot perceived the first ever atomic bomb as "the sun rising in the south", and when radioing for instructions was told "don't fly south"?
  • ... that after the first ever atomic bomb explosion, Robert Oppenheimer said, "We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent"?
  • ... that after the first ever atomic bomb explosion, Robert Oppenheimer said that he recalled a line from Hindu scripture, "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds"?
  • ... that after the first atomic bomb explosion, a coded message was sent from New Mexico to the Secretary of War who was at the Potsdam Conference, saying "Doctor has just returned most enthusiastic and confident that the little boy is as husky as his big brother"?
  • ... that the press releases for different outcomes of the first ever nuclear bomb detonation had been written by William L. Laurence, and he knew that if the most negative were issued, it would likely be his own obituary?
  • ... that newspapers on the east coast of the USA largely ignored unofficial reports of the first ever nuclear bomb detonation, including a blind woman 150 miles from the site who asked "what's that brilliant light"?

Would be nice... --Demiurge1000 (talk) 19:15, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

It is eligible. I already nominated it. I did think of a couple of your hooks (the Oppenheimer and Laurence ones) but nominated it with a different hook. It has now been reviewed, and with luck will soon appear. Hawkeye7 (talk) 20:26, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Looking good, thank you! I agree the Fermi bet is one of the most interesting aspects. As there are more than 200 other language Wikipedias, I will try to make sure the article is translated into all of them, and thus none of my proposed hooks might need to be wasted. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 20:32, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Also, would it be possible not to have two sections both entitled "Explosion"? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 20:35, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Comparison with later tests[edit]

I think comparisons to later tests would improve the article by giving readers the ability to see video of devices of similar yield detonated at similar height of bursts. As due to the lack of good video, how the trinity test really might have looked is a bit of a black box to those uninitiated - and this is an issue even that many who were in attendance at the trinity test have, as they were told to keep their backs to it until the intense flash was over, with only Teller and Feynman reportedly really getting to look at it.

I added the following, but it was removed as un-sourced, sadly no one else appears to have stated that any of these later tests were similar to Trinity, otherwise I would have attached such a source, although personally I don't think we need this redundant corroboration as it is plain to see that they were very similar, in fact probably the most similar tests to Trinity ever conducted. -

Video of shot MET (Military Effects Test) of Operation Teapot, fired on 15 April 1955, with a yield of 22 kilotons, was approximately of the same yield and height of burst as the Trinity test device/"Gadget" detonated in 1945.
This night shot of Upshot-Knothole Annie was televised and gives a rare record of both the sound and appearance of an actual nuclear device of similar yield and ambient brightness to the Trinity test.[1]

Apart from Joe-1 in 1949, the Soviet Union's first nuclear test, and due to its atomic espionage, it was almost identical to the Trinity Gadget. Although it was a daytime shot and not a darkly lit dawn shot like Trinity, the 1955 US Military Effects Test of Operation Teapot was another nuclear device with a slightly higher yield(22 kt) and atop a tower with moderately taller dimensions(120 m) to the Trinity test.

A closely paired night test with a similar yield to the trinity test was Upshot-Knothole Annie which produced a yield of 16 kt. (talk) 09:51, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

They are off-topic in the Trinity article, but they are their own articles, which are liked at the bottom of the page. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:51, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
They aren't really off topic, considering they are all nuclear tests. If this comparisons section was added to the very end of the article as you appear to be suggesting, then it would no doubt increase the educational value of this article. (talk) 11:12, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

How did they determine the yield?[edit]

At the very least we should relay the story of Fermi using bits of confetti paper to estimate the yield of the gadget, the story can be found on Enrico Fermi and in nuclear fireball, furthermore I'd like to see explained why the initial estimates of the yield stated by Oppenheimer were so wrong. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:37, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Will do! Hawkeye7 (talk) 08:58, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
Great, I was expecting a dedicated heading for yield determination though. Really we could get rid of that boring claptrap about the men using salt water soap, and fit in a section on yield determination with info on the piezoelectric gauges and Herbert L. Anderson's radiochemical analysis having the final say. I've since put in a table that shows Fermi's estimate as damned accurate! However the table is a bit anachronistic as readers might go - hang on a minute how'd they know 50% of the energy would go into the blast before the blast even happened? Well they didn't! With a dedicated yield determination heading we'd be able to communicate to readers how such a table began to come into existence in the first place from measurements at the Trinity site etc. (talk) 01:09, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
Good job on the contemporary yield estimates section hawkeye7! All we have to do now is put a referenced sentence or two in on how the yield was revised, and finally came to be "20 kiloton". On a related note, I'm a bit disturbed by your removal of the fact that Gadget was a euphemism for a bomb. Can you explain why you continue to remove this? (talk) 10:17, 9 November 2014 (UTC)


AIUI, 'Gadget' had two meanings, depending on date and context.

Early on, 'Gadget' was the term for the design of a physics package, broadly the weaponising of a scientific principle. This was a specific and relatively narrow piece of work, because most of Manhattan's efforts were actually going into research in physics or metallurgy, or the problem of producing fissile materials. 'Gadget' work began with the concept of core compression (by linear assembly or implosion) and turning physics into a weapon.

Later on, 'The Gadget' became a term for the specific physics package to be used for Trinity. This was not a bomb: it had no casing, no fuzing and didn't necessarily have the mechanical robustness to be air-dropped. An even more obvious demonstration of the differences would be for the cryogenic thermonuclear devices, such as the Ivy Mike 'Sausage' / Mk 16 bomb. In Trinity's case, it ended up being mechanically very similar to Fat Man, although the X unit wasn't robust enough (you can make electronics to be easily modifiable during development, or packed solid to be robust, but it's hard to do both simultaneously) and AFAIK there had been proposals to test implosion with more crudely built mechanical prototypes at one time, overtaken by good progress on the mechanical design intended for Fat Man. Trinity was a test of physics and effects, not of engineering: there was already confidence that the engineering was good. The "thing built for Trinity" though was not a bomb, never a bomb and still needed something to call it - hence, 'The Gadget'. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:16, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

A bomb does not have to be an aerial bomb; consider the common road-side bomb. And while "Sausage" was a purely experimental device, the Trinity gadget was a Y-1561 Fat Man with only a few differences from the one used at Nagasaki. But if I understand you correctly, you are saying that in the subsequent historiography, the term "gadget" was misapplied to mean the Trinity gadget? Do we have sources for that? The ones I consulted were careful to avoid that. Hawkeye7 (talk) 20:06, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
No, I mean that the term 'Gadget' had two meanings, depending on date and context, at the time of the term's use.
In the early context, the need was to talk about 'gadgeteering' as a branch of engineering. Later there was a need to refer to the device being built for Trinity, in particular in the ways that it was distinct from Fat Man. Both of these needed a neologism – they had to call it something. Andy Dingley (talk) 00:01, 11 November 2014 (UTC)