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The sequence: the light, the click and then the sound


The explosion: 'There was no sound'
Jeremy Bernstein Scientist
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Ten seconds before the thing, the countdown was at ten… we’d been given dark glasses to cover our eyes and were told to turn away from the explosion, and so at the count of ten I turned away and there was no sound. There was no sound. When I turned around, the whole horizon was illuminated with this.... grotesque display of flame and colour and things, and God, it was unbelievable, an unbelievable sight. Behind the tower, there was a hill on which there were these Joshua trees, a familiar kind of shrubbery in the Southwest, and the whole hill, the trees were all on fire. It was just sort of an obscene thing.

Born in 1929, Jeremy Bernstein is an American physicist, educator and writer known for the clarity of his writing for the lay reader on the major issues of modern physics. After graduating from Harvard University, Bernstein worked at Harvard and at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton. In 1962 he became an Associate Professor of Physics at New York University, and later a Professor of Physics at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, a position he continues to hold. He was also on the staff of The New Yorker magazine.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Operation Plumbbob

Duration: 1 minute, 19 seconds

Date story recorded: 15th June 2011

Date story went live: 07 September 2011