Michael’s response to the trigger ‘truth’:
THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH
As a group, the sad truth is that Human Beings as a race do not take care of each other. Indeed, through history the evidence is that Wars have sought better and more efficient ways to cause such harm. This truth was brought vividly to my attention some years ago.
The year was 1978. I was talking to the Chief Scientist of a company called Cary Scientific Instruments in Metuchen, New York, USA.
The purpose of my visit was to assess one of Cary’s Raman Spectrometers with a view to its possible purchase for research at Nottingham University, a mere £70,000 .
The Chief Scientist was an interesting man, I guess about twice my age. He was an expert in the use of spectroscopy for chemical analysis. Their machine was state-of-the-Art: laser powered, and computer driven. By comparison my machine at Nottingham would have looked out of date at Stonehenge. I continued our conversation by asking him what was his background. He explained that he did his first degree at Harvard followed by his PhD , and then he joined the US Army’s technical branch just as the war started. He found himself being seconded to the Manhattan Project – the Atomic Bomb.
He went on to explain the excitement of developing techniques for purification of Uranium and methods for measuring it. He had witnessed several bomb tests in the Mexican desert, which he said were astounding. ‘But none of us realized what the impact would be’. He then went on to describe the dropping on Hiroshima. ‘We were all horrified at what we had developed and the magnitude of the effect,’ he said.
I was slightly shocked to note he had tears in his eyes. He continued that as soon as he could he left the US Army’s Technical Branch and returned to civilian life.
‘Have a look at the pictures of destruction caused to see what it meant,’ he said to me. ‘Be careful what you do as a scientist.’
This encounter had a profound impact on me and ever since I have considered the impact of any research I do.
Oh yes, I bought the Raman Spectrometer