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Science museum opens two exhibits, hosts talk Sept. 27-29

The museum opens its "Fireset" and "A New Look at Trinitite" exhibits.
September 22, 2011
Bradbury Science Museum

Bradbury Science Museum


  • Steve Sandoval
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Part of Los Alamos County’s celebration of Cultural Heritage Month

LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico, September 22, 2011—Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Bradbury Science Museum unveils two exhibits next week and hosts a talk about Manhattan Project physicist Richard Feynman on September 29. All the events are open to the public and coincide with Los Alamos County’s “See You In September” celebration of Cultural Heritage Month.

The museum opens its “Fireset” exhibit with a reception from 3 to 4 p.m., Tuesday, September 27 followed by a discussion and question-and-answer session with Laboratory retiree Glenn McDuff.

“The Fireset: How Fat Man was Triggered,” features the only known remaining original fireset made to work with the Fat Man nuclear device. The exhibit describes how this artifact worked and why it was a crucial part of the perfectly synchronized ignition of the high explosives used to detonate Fat Man, while also protecting against misfires.

Two days later, September 29, “A New Look at Trinitite” opens with a welcome and reception from 3 to 4 p.m. and a discussion and question-and-answer session with Laboratory scientist Robb Hermes.

The trinitite exhibit uses this famous green glass produced by the first atomic device test at Trinity Site to tell a story about the scientific method. Hermes’ work is featured. He originally looked at ant sand, which contained minute pieces of trinitite, and wondered about their shapes. It led him and a colleague to investigate these shapes and come up with a new idea on how trinitite formed. The exhibit features many samples of trinitite and other rare and associated specimens to tell the story.

The museum also hosts a talk by author Jim Ottaviani at 5 p.m., September 28. Ottaviani and Leland Myrick are coauthors of Feynman, a graphic novel biography of the larger-than-life exploits of Nobel Prize-winning quantum physicist and adventurer Richard Feynman. After the talk, Ottaviani will sign copies of the book at the Otowi Station Bookstore next door to the museum.

Feynman assisted in the development of the atomic bomb at LANL (1943-45) and was Diffusion Problems group leader in the Theoretical Division. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 and later served on the commission that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.

The Bradbury Science Museum features films and interactive exhibits interpreting LANL’s contributions to modern science, research, and technology, including its role in the Manhattan Project and current national security mission.

The Bradbury is open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Photos are allowed. The museum is located at 15th Street and Central Avenue in downtown Los Alamos. For more information, contact Mary Ellen Ortiz at (505) 664-0244 or go to the museum’s website at

About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, BWXT Government Group, and URS, an AECOM company, for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

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