Critical Assembly: Poems of the Manhattan Project

Critical Assembly: Poems of the Manhattan Project

by John Canaday


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With technical mastery and remarkable empathy, Canaday introduces readers to the people involved in the creation and testing of the first atomic bomb, from initial theoretical conversations to the secretive work at Los Alamos. Critical Assembly also includes brief biographies, notes, and a bibliography for further exploration about this critical event in world history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780826358837
Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
Publication date: 09/15/2017
Series: Mary Burritt Christiansen Poetry Series
Pages: 216
Sales rank: 703,488
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

John Canaday is the author of The Invisible World: Poems and The Nuclear Muse: Literature, Physics, and the First Atomic Bombs. His poetry has been widely published.

Table of Contents

Medialog: William Laurence 1

U / Potential

(Life is finite) Albert Einstein 5

(In 1913, H.G. Wells) Leo Szilard 6

(Hatred's homicidal) Eugene Wigner 8

(Chancellors come and go) Otto Frisch 9

(Niels Bohr was God) Max Delbrück 11

(Rare earth sparks the clouds) Otto Frisch 15

(Not everyone can be as fortunate as Christ) Leo Szilard 18

(The Czechoslovak state is occupied) Albert Einstein 19

(Now Einstein knows me) Edward Teller 20

(I spent each August in the steno pool) Janet Coatesworth 22

(The grass is hazy) Albert Einstein 26

Ek Kinetic

(History's hard) Alexander Sachs 31

(Oh, that thing) Leslie Groves 34

(Who needed mountains) Edith Warner 36

(Oppie and his brother) Robert Serber 38

(No matter what your weapons are) John Dudley 41

(Luck finds me when I least expect it) Edith Warner 43

(But "Oppie" has his own ideas) John Dudley 45

(On the train from Oak Ridge) Louis Slotin 46

(Each day a stream of new lost souls) Dorothy McKibben 48

(When Oppie's first recruits arrived) Robert Serber 50

(Once people thought that angels) Richard Feynman 52

(Dammit, Oppie's always right) Edward Condon 54

(I've been called a cowboy) Louis Slotin 58

(Tigers roam the globe) Peer de Silva 60

(Wigwam calls us Martians) Edward Teller 62

(Tech was a pit) Ruth Marshak 63

(What were we making: babies) James Nolan 64

(By then I'd had it up to here) John Dudley 65

(Mary knows what's what) Bernice Brode 67

(Bethe made the Head of Theory?) Edward Teller 69

(Hitler disliked my politics) Klaus Fuchs 70

(We are all guests) Eugene Wigner 74

(Venus hangs low above the mountains) Edith Warner 76

(The snows came early) J. Robert Oppenheimer 78

(Though I was born a German princess) Kitty Oppenheimer 80

(Petey didn't pity whores) James Nolan 81

(Most days it was easy to forget) Robert Serber 83

(Lightning snaps at the windows) Willy Higinbotham 85

(Mrs. Fisher's superstitious) Appolonia Chalee 86

(Over the years I learned their rituals) Edith Warner 87

(Nature is the wildest West) Niels Bohr 88

(Horns blare. Dust burgeons) John Lansdale Jr. 91

(Now morning sickness is the proof of love) Kitty Oppenheimer 93

(We mustn't speak of doctors) Dorothy McKibben 94

(Crisp, starched khaki) Antonio Martinez 96

("Hell yes, I have ID") Kitty Oppenheimer 99

("Damn kraut") Chien-Shiung Wu 100

(Wonder of the work) Donald Mastick 103

(Man's main concern is man) Richard Feynman 106

(My work requires grace) Louis Slotin 108

(When Robert planted Peter in my gut) Kitty Oppenheimer 110

ΔH / Heat

(We beat the Nazis on a Tuesday) Rose Bethe 115

(Spay nature) Joseph Rotblat 116

(In Luzon, everybody thought) John Dudley 118

(I don't know much about luck) George Kistiakowsky 119

(The core assembly was as riveting) Louis Slotin 121

(How near we are to dying) Dorothy McKibben 123

(Some things you can control) Norris Bradbury 125

(Our drab green school bus shudders) Edward Teller 127

(LeMay's been roasting towns again) Frank Oppenheimer 128

(The cradle rocks) Donald Hornig 131

(It's midnight) Edward Teller 134

(Stick to your knitting) Leslie Groves 135

(Prone on a dike) Philip Morrison 138

(The seconds limp, then stumble) Edward Teller 140

(Great poets dream of clarity) Thomas Farrell 141

(I looked at Zero through dark glass) Victor Weisskopf 143

(After the first flash) J. Robert Oppenheimer 144

(The silence lingers longest) Joan Hinton 145

(That morning at my brother's) David McDonald 146

(Nothing like the sun) Hans Bethe 147

(When Trinity went off) Norris Bradbury 149

(Dear Mami) David Nicodemus 150

(Smitty's smitten) Harriet "Petey" Peterson 153

(And it was quite a while) David McDonald 154

(We'd wished for miracles) Joe Willis 155

(As season follows season) Edith Warner 160

(We lost the moon among mountains) J. Robert Oppenheimer 161

Acknowledgments 163

Notes on Poems 167

Sources 187

Biographical Notes 195

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