Former Rice Physicist Available to Talk on Atomic Bomb

first_imgAddThis Share MEDIA ADVISORY CONTACT: Lia Unrau PHONE: (713) 831-4793 FORMER RICE PHYSICIST AVAILABLE TO TALK ON ATOMIC BOMB A developer of the atomic bomb, Hugh T. Richards, former physicist from Rice University, is available to comment on the 50th anniversary of the first explosion of the atomicbomb, which he witnessed on July 16, 1945, in New Mexico. Richards, author of Through Los Alamos, 1945: Memoirs of a Nuclear Physicist, (Arlington Place Press, 1993) began nuclear research on the bomb while at Rice from 1939-1942 and went on to work with physicists Richard Feynman, Enrico Fermi and Hans Bethe on the development of the bomb while at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico from 1943-45. Richards, a research associate in the physics department at Rice, undertook a government contract in 1942 to measure energy spectra of fast neutrons. Richards used his photographic emulsion method to measure the spectra of neurons from the fission of uranium-235. Richards’ work at Los Alamos included studies of fast neutron fission cross sections and measuring the number of neutrons emitted per fission. By 1945, his work shifted to preparing for the first atomic bomb test, code named “Trinity.” Richards was in charge of the group assigned to measure the space and time relations of theslow moving neutrons emitted. The group created a cellophane “catcher camera,” which successfullymeasured the neutrons emitted.“Every day was a challenge,” Richards said of his work at Los Alamos. “Some hoped it [making the bomb] wasn’t possible (I was probably among those), but we didn’t have much time for reflection,it was full-steam ahead.” Richards writes in his memoirs, “Euphoria was my first reaction after the years of hard work and increasing tension: The long war would soon be over. I realized that the explosion signaled irreversible changes in the world. …Over the past scores of years I believe a case can be made that the explosion has made world waran obsolete way of settling disputes.” Richards can be reached for comment at (608) 262-3092, office,or (608) 238-1914, home. ###last_img read more