Los Alamos National LaboratoryBradbury Science Museum
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Bradbury Science Museum

Favorite Q&A

Weird or wonderful—no questions are too wacky for BSM. Read some of our favorites and discover some answers that just may surprise you.

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Is the White Rock Visitor Center open?

Contact Info

White Rock Tourist Information Center
115 State Road 4
White Rock, NM, 87544

Phone: 505-672-3183

Hours of Operation

Open 7 days a week
during high season, March 15 through October 31
9 to 4
low season, November through March
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where is the Spaceport?

The Spaceport is near Truth Or Consequences, on 18,000 acres of land in south-central New Mexico.

How far is it to the Valles Caldera?

It is about 20 to 30 minutes from Los Alamos to the Valle Grande Visitor Center. The road is mountainous and curvy, but the views are spectacular. We feel the trip is worth it if you have the time.

How long has the museum been at this location?

The Bradbury Science Museum opened in its current location in April 1993. In 2013 we are celebrating our 20th anniversary along with the 70th anniversary of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

How long is the airport runway in Los Alamos?

The runway is 5500 feet long, and our airport hosts a commercial route to Albuquerque starting in April, 2013.

How is the museum funded?

The Bradbury Science Museum is part of Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is funded by the Department of Energy.

Can I buy a copy of "The Town That Never Was?"

This is such a popular question that we decided to upload a version of the film to YouTube. You can find it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LLzBWQY7m0

Why was it called The Manhattan Project?

The Manhattan Project Started in an office building in Manhattan, New York. Although Columbia University was still involved, once the project started rolling, New York was seen as too vulnerable, and operations were soon moved to other locales.

Are the models of Little Boy and Fat Man the same ones that were displayed in the old museum?

Our replicas of Little Boy and Fat Man are new. They are made of fiberglass, steel and concrete for ballast. They weigh like the originals, and in several other respects, are more faithful to the originals than the models we used to display.

Isn't there an opera about Oppenheimer? Einstein?

Contemporary composer John Adams and librettist Peter Sellars wrote "Doctor Atomic," which premiered in 2005. It revolves around the events leading up to the Trinity Test.

Philip Glass and Robert Wilson wrote "Einstein On The Beach," which premiered in 1976.

Both men have inspired many treatments in novels, films, plays and works of music.

Was Oppenheimer Jewish? Was Oppie from Germany?

J. Robert Oppenheimer was a Jew, born in New York. His father immigrated from Germany.

Was Einstein a Jew? Was he at Los Alamos?

Albert Einstein was a non-observant Jew. He never visited Los Alamos during or after WWII.

What is the best route to Farmington?

This is an impossible question, but here are some suggestions:

The north route goes through Espanola, Abiquiu, Chama, Dulce, Bloomfield, Farmington

One can turn west at Abiquiu Dam and go through Coyote, Gallina, Cuba and west.

Another approach is through the Jemez. The adventurous can follow a long unpaved road which is treacherous in wet weather, or proceed south through Jemez Springs to San Ysidro and go west.

Many Santa Feans prefer to drive south on I-25 to Bernalillo and go west from there.

Where are the Tent Rocks?

Tent rocks are interesting conical formations of volcanic ash called 'tuff.' There are several in the bottom of Pueblo Canyon, which is north of the townsite, and accessible by several trails. "The Tent Rocks" refers to a spectacular formation called Kasha-Katuwe that is west of Cochiti Pueblo, south of Santa Fe.

There are signs to the site in Cochiti Pueblo, it is a fee area, and dogs are not allowed. The dirt road is well graded.

How far is it to Taos?

The direct route to Taos, through Espanola and along the Rio Grande is about 60 miles and will take about an hour and a quarter. The High Road, through Chimayo, Truchas, Ojo Sarco, Las Trampas, and Penasco, is longer and slower, but it is so beautiful we have never noticed how long it takes.

Is there a dog park in Los Alamos?

There is indeed! A few blocks east of the museum, at 300 East Road, there is a fenced dog park with picnic tables, shade, rest room, and trails. Bring your putter and play a round of miniature golf.

There is also a dog park in White Rock's Overlook Park with many of the same amenities, but replace your golf club with a kite.

Elevation of Los Alamos

Los Alamos sits at 7355 feet. The climate is cooler than that of much of New Mexico, and the air is dry.

General (Frequently) Asked Questions

A good FAQ, we suppose, might include frequently asked questions, even if they are covered elsewhere on our website.

  • The Bradbury Science Museum has FREE admission. Photographs are permitted, food and drinks are not.
  • The Museum is totally accessible, and we have 2 wheelchairs available for use by visitors.
  • We are Open Sunday and Monday from 1 PM to 5 PM, and Tuesday - Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM.
  • The Museum is CLOSED on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. We also close when Los Alamos National Laboratory is closed for weather (snow) situations.
  • More information about visiting our beautiful area can be found at the Visit Los Alamos website.
Errors in the Museum

From time to time, visitors point out errors in our exhibit texts. Sometimes they are easy to correct, sometimes not so easy. Sometimes they are our mistakes, sometimes they came from other sources, and sometimes they result from visitor misunderstanding. We respond when we can, depending on how major the error is and how difficult or expensive is the corrective measure. There are actually few factual errors in our exhibits, and we are gladdened that visitors read our texts as carefully as they do.

We probably will not correct the spelling of the Air Force base in Albuquerque on our large USGS issued 3-D map of New Mexico. We will describe Glenn Seaborg as a chemist (not a physicist) as a family member has requested if and when we change that panel.

We have discussed compiling a list and making it into a scavenger hunt. . .what is the atomic weight of plutonium? This error is recorded in a direct quote, do you know where it is?

Trinitite Question

We are asked from time to time if or where one can get Trinitite, the glassy mineral formed by the test of the "Gadget" atomic device at Trinity Site on the White Sands Missile Range. For several years after the test, the material was poached from the site by the truckload. It was never officially distributed, and there is no guarantee that any glass called Trinitite is authentic without very exacting analysis well beyond this writer's understanding.
That said, we have been told that there is enough out there in circulation that it is unlikely that anyone would go to the trouble to try to make counterfeit Trinitite. As to where to buy it, we will leave that up to the resourcefulness of our readers.

The Museum book/ gift store

The Bradbury Science Museum does not have a book or gift store.

Adjacent to the museum there was such a store, called Otowi Station. This shop closed its doors for the last time in October, 2012.

The Los Alamos Historical Museum has a wonderful bookstore.

The National Museum of Nuclear History and Science in Albuquerque has a store.

These are all good friends of ours, and from periodic table neck ties to Fat Man and Little Boy earrings, anything you may have reasonably expected to find in a museum shop at the Bradbury Science Museum can certainly be found in one or more of theirs.

The local department store, CB Fox has mugs, tee shirts and other local gifts, and Bennett's Fine Jewelery and Gifts has gifts of the Southwest. Both of these stores are a short walk from the museum.

Solutions for puzzles

We have been asked several times over the years why we don't post the answers to questions posed or puzzles in the museum's TechLab family friendly space.

The short answer is that we hope our visitors will work, and possibly work hard, on these challenges. It is good for us to think, it exercises our brains. We also hope that an unanswered question is a question with dwell time. It may follow a visitor out of the museum and into the world.

Parents have asked for answers so that they might teach their kids. Teaching kids is a very important, some say sacred, role. The museum educators believe that more important than telling kids facts and providing answers, is demonstrating curiosity and encouraging inquiry. Developing these skills will have a far greater impact in a person's life than learning a particular fact or solution to a particular puzzle.

The educators have provided the museum guides with hint sheets about each of the puzzles, but we discourage, not forbid, them from providing solutions and direct answers. We try not to be cruel, and we will help someone who has, by serious application, demonstrated a commitment to solving a puzzle or answering a question.

Is the Museum Named After Ray Bradbury?

Sorry to say, but Ray and Norris Bradbury are not related to each other. The name of our museum is a source of constant confusion and, to us anyway, amusement. Last week visitors came in and told our guides how they just had to come to the Bradbury Science Museum because they were from Chicago. (That would be Ray. Norris was from California, but he lived most of his life here in Los Alamos.) Perhaps that was your family?

Norris Bradbury was the director of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory for 25 years. He immediately succeeded J. Robert Oppenheimer at a time immediately after WWII when many people thought the lab was going to be shut down. Some people argue persuasively that Norris kept this place going in the years between the end of WWII and the testing of the first Soviet atomic bomb. After that, it was generally believed that LASL had an important role to play. Norris died in 1997.

Ray and Norris did write humorous letters back and forth at one point. They were both well enough known to be confused with each other. As we write this, Ray is 91 and, we are happy to say, still kicking.

Postscript: Ray Bradbury passed away on June 5, 2012. He was nearly 92. We will miss him.