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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

But Will It 'Bomb' at the Box Office?

UPDATE  Two days ago I posted the item below, marking the day in 1945 when the U.S. committee rejected the plea by Leo Szilard and other Manhattan Project scientists to set off a "demonstration" of the nearly-built first atomic bomb rather than simply drop it over a Japanese city, killing more than 100,000, mainly women and kids.  Now today comes word that, yes, a play titled Atomic about Szilard and the project is about to open in New York--and, get this, it's a musical with plenty of levity and tunes that range from rock to Yiddish.  From their brief summary:
ATOMIC is the thrilling new Off-Broadway musical that blasts open the doors of The Manhattan Project, a government-funded program of top scientists with the task of creating the world’s first atomic bomb. Leo Szilard is the mastermind behind atomic power, but his heart has reservations. Ethics, scientific progress, and true love are tested as Leo discovers exactly what he’s capable of when someone believes in him.
A review from its run in Australia suggests that it tackles some subjects--maybe too many--seriously.  But still.  Disco?

Earlier:  On this day in 1945, the plea by some Manhattan Project scientists--either not use the atomic bomb they were creating against people in Japan or at least set off a demonstration shot before that--was rejected.  Although note: the plan to use it against "military targets" when actually the targets would be the center of cities with limited (Hiroshima) or no (Nagasaki) military bases.  The vast majority of those who'd die were women and children.  (See my book.) 
Stimson proposed that a special committee be set up to consider whether the atomic bomb would be used, and if so, when and where it would be deployed. ...General George Marshall and Manhattan Project Director Leslie Groves also participated in some of the committee’s meetings. On June 1, 1945, the Interim Committee recommended that that atomic bombs should be dropped on military targets in Japan as soon as possible and without warning. One committee member, Ralph Bard, convinced that Japan may be seeking a way to end the war, called for a two to three day warning before the bomb was dropped.
A group of scientists involved in the Manhattan project opposed the use of the atomic bomb as a military weapon. In a report signed by physicist James Franck, they called for a public demonstration of the weapon in a desert or on a barren island. On June 16, 1945, a scientific panel consisting of physicists Arthur H. Compton, Enrico Fermi, E. O. Lawrence, and J. Robert Oppenheimer reported that it did not believe that a technical demonstration would be sufficient to end the war.

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