I am 17 years old and thus was not around for the actual bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I became aware of the atomic bomb in school and from the news. Now when I think of the atomic bomb I think of mass destruction and long-lasting radiation effects. I think of the tragic events that took place in World War II. The fact that nuclear weapons exist troubles me as they are not a good method of either resolving conflicts or preventing them. The use of the atomic bomb obviously underlines the need to watch ourselves and the way we use technology. Like many other things we must use science as tool not as a weapon and definitely not as a means of mass murder. The sad truth is that the possibility exists that the bomb will be used again. Hopefully as peace talks continue and progress is made the use of the atomic bomb will become increasingly unlikely. But we cannot drop our guard or relax simply because the Cold War is over. We must be constantly on the watch. My name is Dominic Yu. I live is San Francisco and attend Saint AIgnatius. We happened to be talking about the bombing of Japan in WWII and discussing the moral issues surrounding it in school. As the world is rapidly changing both technologically and politically questions such as this one will become more and more relevant.
Jonathan Schuman, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl., Science Teacher. I grew up in the shadow of the bomb. What happen to the Japaneese people was a despicable. We often reflect on the horrors of war. But there can be no greater horror than the wholesale killing of the innocents. War is hell on earth, a creation of the political leaders not the people, but it is the people who pay the ultimate price. Science did not create the atomic bomb it provided the system by which the energy within the atom could be released and harnessed. I still have faith in the goodness of humanity although it seems we make many of the same judgment errors over again. Today there is genocide in Bosnia tomorrow it will be somewhere else....but I doubt the more mature nations of the small planet Earth will allow nuclear weapons to be used as long as they are reminded of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
I was born in 1969. I think I first became aware of nuclear weaponry around when I was 5 or 6. I believed for some reason that only one bomb had been used until I was about 12. The existence of nuclear weaponry and its strategic applications to international and domestic policies and economics gave me a pessimistic view of the human race (no future, no hope, complete loss of innocence, general depression) so I tried not to think about it. I do not blame science and technology completely because it is only a tool. War and the dehumanization of others has been around long before science and tech. There is a feeling of great disappointment about the people who worked on the manhattan project that they did not have the foresight to realize that maybe the human race is not ready to handle the atom with responsibility. After all the people who worked on the project were smart people. They were thinking about this responsibility. Maybe they were just real bad strategists. I didn't think about whether the bomb would be used too much because a person with a real understanding of this, I think, goes mad. I accepted that it would be used much the same way. I try to accept death.
Sam, 32. Tucson, Az. I believe that science has demonstrated that it is truly amoral with its assistance of the military in the creation of these horrific weapons. Never again should a scientist naively believe that he or she is merely investigating for knowledge sake.
Mi nombre es Gustavo Rojas naci en San Jose Costa Rica America Central. Con respecto a si fue afectada la imagen de la ciencia y la tecnologia con el fenomeno tecnologico de la bombas atomicas pienso que la tecnologia la cual no pertenece a ninguna ciencia si no es una parte de la filosofia moral fue la afectada mayormente. La ciencia desperto de su letargo de que su conocimiento la verdad solo pia conducir al bien. Mentira lamentablemente la vida se compone no de verdades sino de actuaciones humanas. Hemos avanzado mucho en la razon pero en el corazon estamos en las cavernas. Que mas muestra de canibalisno cavernismo nos los dan estas fotografias. Espero que las palabras de un poema titulado Hiroshima de un poeta de mi tierra no se cumplan nunca y comenzaron a nacer los ninos con los ojo enormes como si to lo miraran desde siempre aun cuando no existian los horizontes (Jorge Debravo).
[translation] My name is Gustavo Rojas, I was born in San Jose, Costa Rica. Central America. In relation to the image of science and technology and how it was affected by the creation of the atomic bomb, I believe that development of technology must be attached to a philosophy with moral and responsible values. Science has evolved our search for truth with the intention of guiding humanity towards good. Unfortunately, life is composed of lies and truths, and the only thing that counts ultimately is our actions. We have advanced within the realm of the rational, but in the matters of the heart we are in the stone age. The proof of our cannibalism is shown in those photographs. I hope that the words of a poem entitled "Hiroshima"by Jorge Debravo, a poet from my country, will not become a reality. He describes children that were born with enormous open eyes, as if they were seeing forever but without horizons.
Ed Steinberg. Miami, FL. Proud to be democrat, tree-hugger, gun-control advocate, liberal, believer in enlightened capitalism, disbeliever in most socialism, fascism, and collectivism ideas. Vacillate between what government should and should not control and handle. To those who question the dropping of the bomb I would pose the following questions:
1. If we had it earlier should we have used it, say right before
the Bataan Death March?
2. Why didn't the Japanese surrender after Hiroshima?
3. If the Japanese had had the bomb how many of us would be writing these missives?
4. Has anybody polled the populations of Nanking, Korea, the Phillipines etc. for their thoughts on the matter.
As you may have guessed there is NO question in my mind that the decision to use it was absolutely correct and moral. I would hope that HST spent more time deciding what shirt to wear than he did on his decision to use it. And yes if we had it earlier it should have been used on the Germans. BTW I think the opening title should read "... in CELEBRATING the 50th anniversary... "
J.C Schwab, age 43. Lausanne, Switzerland. L'age atomique donne a l'homme pour la premiere fois de son histoire la capacite de se detruire totalement ainsi que la totalite de la vie humaine sur la planete. Il serait facile de comdamner la science et la tecnologie elles sont t totalemnt dirigees vers les recherches atomiques en vue d assurer le pouvoir politique des grandes puisances apres la eme guerre mondiale. Ceci dit cela n'empeche que les scientifiques eux memes peuvent mieux reflechir sur l'impact destructive de leurs recherches et sur l'application militaire de celles-ci. Et le cas echeant refuser de travailler pour de recherches a caractere militaire et destructive. Je suis pour le demant lement totale des armes atomiques et des armes tout court l l'arsenal Americain. Francais Russe Anglais est encore en place le danger d'utilisation est tout a fait reel. Votre page est interessante et instructive. Merci
[translation] The atomic age gives humans, for the first time in his history, the capacity of destroying himself and all human life on the planet totally. It would be easy to condemn science and technology. Since the second world war atomic research has served to reinforce the political strength of the super powers. That doesn't mean that scientists can't think about the destructive impact of their research and of its military applications. I am totally for the removal of all atomic arms and nuclear arms in general. American, French and Russian arms are still in place and the danger of using them is still real. Your page is interesting and instructive. Thank you
I'm a 23 year old graduate student in mechanical engineering working towards a Ph.D.. at Duke University...My grandfather was a professor at Harvard during WW II. He choose to go with a group and work on radar in England. A college of his went to Los Alamos. I've always been fascinated by advances in technology and the people who make these advances. The creation of the first nuclear device was truly a remarkable accomplishment. It was the state of the world that that device was a bomb. The pop singer Sting has a curious lyric in a song of his called "Russians". I think he wrote it during the cold war. He refers to the bomb as Oppenheimer's deadly toy. Scientists frequently get blamed for the negative consequences of inventions. A theme that is as old as Frankenstein. The creation of the nuclear bomb didn't do much to improve the image of the scientist. As long as they exist they can be used.
Rebecca Robbins, 18. What bothers me the most is that we, the U.S. have actually used our bombs. I feel Science is a good thing, but people base a lot of hope in its technology. That can be bad when no cure or time capsule is made. I feel in the future bombs will be used again. Its the way of the human race. Destroy the competition.
Science and technology is not the reason for the catastrophe of the bomb and its potential for destruction. People and their motives are. Until people of influence can realize that aggression and destruction are not the ways of realizing motives, the potential for other uses of destructive technology will always be a potential threat to the integrity of humanity, civilization and life on earth as we know it. I' m an engineer and microbiologist living in Woodinville, Washington, 48 years old, and amazed of the atrocities that humans still perpetrate on other humans and the environment. It is not apparent that we as humans learn very quickly from our mistakes.
Pax Americana...Mutual Assured Destruction...The end of the "Cold
Thank God for science !
Dave from NM
...As to how the development of the atomic bomb affects my image of science and technology, I am impressed by the abilities of scientists when they put their minds into solving a problem. I am optimistic about the discoveries that can be made. I am worried by the widening gap between people who use technology and people who understand it. I was once told that whenever somebody asks me the time, I build them a clock. I think that scientists want people to understand what they do and why. I think that it is important for people to understand the technologies around them. I think that this is how the development of the atomic bomb has affect my view of science and technology.
Joe Christensen, Physics Graduate Student
I remember going through air raid drills when I was in kindergarten. This is my first memory of anything related to societal responses to the coming of the atomic age. Personal images aside (for they really are irrelvant in light of the realities of a nuclear axchange), the knowledge of the existence of such incredibley powerful - and destructive - devices brought me to realize that, sometimes, we as a species can often be too smart for our own good. My image of science and technology remains largely unaffected by the atomic bomb. Humans have used scientific and technological advances for military applications for as long as history has been recorded. For all that is good, there is a dark side. I was too young to fully appreciate the latent terror the Cold War held over the world. However, today's blight of terrorist factions and their activities, and the easy availability of the needed doomsday technologies and materials, coupled with a highly unstable world political structure, point to any possibility. Never say never. Gary 38, PA (A fixation with high technology in all of its permutations.)
Pravin Prasad, Age 26 yrs, New York. In my childhood days I was told stories of the WW2 and the use of the two bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I wasn't then, able to appreciate the idea behind the atomic mess, which today leads me to think that Science and Technology has done more harm to the Society than it has done good and this is due to the moral build up of humans. I say this because all the advances that have been made for the good of humans can well be reduced to rubble in the hands of a mad man if he so wishes. The question that arises is "Why should a nuclear weapon exist?"If there is the capability for nuclear weapons, they will be used sooner or later, and that is my very firm belief. The problem that this issue may face is the need for weapons which mankind has always faced and will always need. Well the answer is, there should be weapons to take care of rebellions and disturbances but it should be kept in mind that weapons which cause mass destruction and have deadly repercussions for many more years should be banned. They are a disgrace to mankind and I feel very strongly against it. To conclude --- If there is one thing that will some day annihilate mankind (other than extra-terrestrial forces) it is going to be nuclear agents. So mankind better watch out. There have always been mad men and there always will so it is better not to have deadly toys for them to play with.
My name is David Pearce. I was born in 1953, and first learned of the atomic bomb in school in the early '60s. In fact, it wasn't the atomic bomb that concerned me my family or friends but rather the hydrogen bomb, although I don't think that at that time I really knew the difference. In any case I remember that our neighbors had a bomb shelter. During that period we were quite afraid that the bomb might be used- during the Cuban missile crisis. I think that there was a frightening sense of uncertainty somehow linked toKruschev's shoe. It was only later (mid to late 60's) that I began to fear our own potential for use and/or misuse of the bomb. I did not become aware of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki until much later except for the names which like Auschwitz or Dresden were (even as a child) deeply associate with that time.
Later I read a fascinating book by Robert Jungk: Brighter than a thousand suns, that brought that era and the work of the atomic scientists to life. Yes, learning about the development and use of the atomic bomb changed my view about science and technology, in one clear way and in other less clear ways. It revealed the tremendous power of scientific thought coupled with technological development. However, it leaves the moral/ethical questions very unclear. Between the early 60s and recently I did not think the atomic or hydrogen bomb would ever be used ever again. The risks seemed too high. Now I'm not so sure. Human behavior can be so irrational-- unscientific.-David Pearce
My name is Kurt Lancaster, 28. I'm a PhD student at New York University in the department of Performance Studies. The destruction viewed in the photographs remind me of a scene from Bertolt Brecht's play, Galileo: "If you give way to coercion, science can be crippled, and your new machines may simply suggest new drudgeries. . . . The gulf might even grow so wide that the sound of your cheering at some new achievement would be echoed by a universal howl of horrow." However, there is a photograph of a woman smiling as she is climbing out of a bomb shelter. To me, this woman's smile shows a spirit of life that is immortal -- something that cannot be blasted away. That spirit is more powerful than the bomb itself.
L.M. Thorsell 32 years old Vancouver, B.C, Canada In junior high school, my class was twice shown a movie about the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The reality of what happened was so much more horrific than what I had imagined as a child. I'm grateful to the teachers at that school in Lacombe, Alberta for showing that film to us. Seeing the horrific injuries that were inflicted on the people of those cities made me realize how destructive atomic weapons are. That film and others like it should be shown to students all over the world so that we are more fully aware of the real effects of these weapons.
I do have fears that they will one day be used again. I had these fears during the Cold War, and I still have them. Now that nuclear weapons exist and have been used, the risk of them being used again will continue to haunt the world.
The atomic bomb has given me a deep respect for power inherent in the natural world and in science and technology. Western culture, like a child, seems unable to stem its impulse to indulge itself in whatever is new and exciting. We need to learn restraint. We need to learn that easier isn't necessarily better.
I am Andre Boivin (29 yr old) from Quebec city (Canada)...The atomic bomb did not change my perception of science. I myself study diabetes with radioactive products, for instance to quantify insulin in the blood. Modern science is most valuable thing that occured since the last 400 years of the Western civilisation. I hope, from the bottom of my heart that knowledge will lead us to live without any war. The psychology of a Japanese is not different from that of an American, a Irakian, a Serbe, a Croate etc. Our basic and our deep needs and aspirations are all the same. A number of attitudes have to be valued (peace, respect, generosity, etc) whereas others have to be fighted (violence, domination, egoism etc).
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