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Transcript: "Remembering the Explosion"

Frank Oppenheimer: "I think he [J. Robert Oppenheimer] and I were lying down right next to each other flat on the desert right outside the control [room] at the time the bomb went off."

Robert Wilson: "When it went off ... we saw what was just a tremendously overpowering vision of this thing happening. Seeing the mountain small beside it. Seeing... some kind of beauty, but awesome ... as it slowly developed, went up in the air, and made the whole desert light up as if at noon. A large desert rimmed by mountains appeared to be a small place. And that was something that, once that had happened, I was a different person from then on."

Frank Oppenheimer:"At the time it went off I think absolutely -- I knew sort of what would happen but I didn't expect the heat from the flash at five miles away to be nearly that intense. And then there was a cloud, the radioactive cloud sort of hovered there.

I and Ken [Kenneth T. Bainbridge] had been working on developing escapes routes because if that thing had gone a little bit south, there would have been fallout on the camp. And we would have had to get out to the south rather than where the road was to the north.

So there was this sense of this ominous cloud hanging over us. It was so brilliant purple, with all the radioactivity glowing. And it just seemed to hang there forever.

Of course it didn't. It must have been just a very short time until it went up.

It was very terrifying.

And the thunder from the blast bounced on the rocks and then went -- I don't know where it bounced, but it never seemed to stop, not like an ordinary echo with thunder. It just kept echoing back and forth and then -- it was a very scary time when it went off.

I wish I could remember what my brother said, but I can't. But I think we just said, 'It worked.' I think that's what we said, both of us.

And nobody knew it was going to work."
 

 
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