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The lead article for this month's issue of @the Bradbury.

 

Which was better, the book or the movie? It’s an age-old debate going back to the late 1800s with early book-to-film adaptations of stories including The Three Musketeers and Snow White. A much more recent such adaptation, and of particular interest to those of us fascinated by history’s fragile evolution, is the television series The Man in the High Castle, which is based on Philip K. Dick’s 1962 novel of the same name. 

In this alternative-reality tale, Germany ends WWII by dropping an atomic bomb on Washington, D. C. and wins WWII for the Axis powers. As terms of surrender, the United States is divvied up between Nazi Germany and Japan, with the Rocky Mountain region serving as a neutral zone between them. It’s quite a distracting notion, the idea that if even the smallest of events had occurred differently our lives today could be vastly different. 

So what really made the difference? In the race to build the world's first atomic weapon, how did the United States and the Allies succeed where the Axis powers failed? How important were easily accessible resources, strategic geographic locations, or even weather patterns? How much did societal philosophies like collectivism or individualism influence the outcome? Was national hubris a factor, and if so, how? Can the Allied victory be chalked up to American ingenuity and simple determination? To answer these intriguing questions, Dr. Tim Koeth will be in Los Alamos March 14th to share his presentation, “The Physicists in the Basement of the High Castle,” at the BSMA’s first 2019 Night with a Nerd event. 

Tim Koeth is an Associate Research Professor at the University of Maryland in the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics (IREAP) and in the Material Science and Engineering department where he teaches, advises PhD students, and leads a research program in accelerator science and radiological technology.   He is also the Director of the UMD Nuclear Reactor and Radiation Facilities, which includes a 250kW training TRIGA nuclear reactor, panoramic Co-60 Irradiator, 10 MeV electron Linear Accelerator, and his home built teaching cyclotron.  In his spare time he is a nuclear tourist, has collected an extensive number of atomic era artifacts, and pursues nuclear science history. 

The presentation is free for Bradbury Science Museum Association members and begins at 7:00 pm. For nonmembers, the cost is $10, and you can join the BSMA online if you'd like. A members-only reception begins at 5:30, details can be found at www.bradburyassociation.org. Please register as space is limited. 

Visit www.bradburyassociation.org to register or join the BSMA.