Where were you when Big Science dawned upon the world? Some of you may have been alive—it all, arguably, went down on the date of the Trinity Test of July 16, 1945—but a most of us were not. The game, as they say, changed and the creations and systems put into place on a governmental and societal level during World War II are still reverberating into our present and future. It was the start of the military industrial complex, government secrecy, and a race to create more and more dangerous weapons of mass destruction. Weapons that—beyond their physical destruction—have ramifications that extend far past their blast radii.
Which is why we were thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with the series’ experts—Alex Wellerstein, a science historian and assistant professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, and David Saltzberg, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles and technical director for CBS’ The Big Bang Theory—while on the set of WGN America’s Manhattan in New Mexico. Context is everything, folks, and with this show arguably being an origin story for our modern times, it is doubly important to understand all the details.
It’s a fascinating chat about the implications of nuclear energy, the Manhattan Project on the future of warfare, and much more.
Are you watching Manhattan? (It airs Tuesdays at 9PM on WGN America, which, just google it, you guys.) Let us know in the comments below!
Alicia Lutes is the Associate Editor of Nerdist. Find her geeking out about science she barely understands (and puppies and pizza) on Twitter (@alicialutes).