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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) recognized the 75th anniversary of the dawn of the atomic age, which began July 16, 1945 with the “Trinity” test, the world’s first nuclear detonation.

A commemoration of the historic implosion took place Thursday, July 16, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s historic V-Site near Los Alamos, New Mexico, where early testing and some assembly of the Trinity device took place. The V-Site is located in a secure area and is not open to the public.

Beyond the advances in nuclear physics and chemistry that made the first functional, atomic device possible, Trinity was arguably the greatest scientific experiment ever conducted.

Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty
NNSA Administrator

“Beyond the advances in nuclear physics and chemistry that made the first functional, atomic device possible, Trinity was arguably the greatest scientific experiment ever conducted,” said Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and U.S. Under Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Security.

Inspired by the poetry of John Donne, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Los Alamos Laboratory director at the time, code-named the test “Trinity.” The plutonium device, nicknamed “The Gadget,” became the prototype for the “Fat Man” bomb that was detonated in August 1945.

The U.S., British, and Canadian scientists involved with the test launched the world into the atomic age—an era of scientific and technological innovation that has continued for more than seven decades. Twenty Manhattan Project researchers collected Nobel Prizes for their work before, during, and after the war.

Scientific advancements achieved by the NNSA since the Trinity test include plutonium research, advanced imaging techniques, critical assembly experiments, stockpile safety, plutonium alloying and metallurgy, the Bethe-Feynman formula to estimate fissile yield, foundational radiochemical yield analysis, and new frontiers in computing.

Please refer to the following hyperlinks to learn more about this anniversary observance: