Saturday, September 20, 2014

Where It Started

The boys at work up the hill from me. I was late on the scene, born after the War was over by a couple months, in November of 45. My mother carried me through the end of the War, but few knew the war was nearly over at the time. The development of the atomic bomb was a deep secret. When it was first exploded, no one knew for sure what would happen. Everyone was expecting the invasion of Japan and the projected possibility of a million casualties. So my mother was wondering what kind of world her child was going to face. That was when the 2 bombs changed the Japanese experience and will to fight on.

Wiki says:
After he returned to Berkeley, Ernest Lawrence mobilized his team to go painstakingly over the results in order to gather enough evidence to convince Chadwick. Meanwhile, at the Cavendish laboratory, Ernest Rutherford and Mark Oliphant found that deuterium fuses to form helium-3, which causes the effect that the cyclontroneers had observed. Not only was Chadwick correct in that they had been observing contamination, but they had overlooked another important discovery, of nuclear fusion. Lawrence pressed on with the creation of larger cyclotrons. The 27-inch cyclotron was superseded by a 37-inch cyclotron in June 1937. In May 1939, the 60-inch cyclotron was started it. It was used to bombard iron and produced its first radioactive isotopes in June, and the first cancer patient received neutron therapy from it on November 20.

Lawrence was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in November 1939 "for the invention and development of the cyclotron and for results obtained with it, especially with regard to artificial radioactive elements". He was the first at Berkeley to become a Nobel Laureate, and the first to be so honored while at a state-supported university. The award ceremony was held on February 29, 1940, in Berkeley, California due to World War II, in the auditorium of Wheeler Hall on the campus of the university.

The remark about World War II - the Nazis made it really hard for everyone to get to Sweden.

I listened to this song at the Brass Knocker in Saratoga Ca in the mid sixties. It was sung by Paul Zeigler. He did it different and I assume that was because the people he learned it from did it more his way.

Where It Started

I say I was born
in Berkeley as if it was
a red badge marking
my heart with all the world's grace
or something like that.

I am openly
proud of my connection with
the east bay and north
of that old Bay Bridge.

I would walk the avenue,
or ride a big bike-
I had to stand up
on it- but that was later.

At the start I lived
up the hill toward
the big Cee near the cheap seats
(they called it Tightwad
Hill) and nearby smart
boys broke uranium bits
and found out how to
blow up the damn world.

‎September ‎20, ‎2014 1:55 PM


  1. With tears in their eyes

    That world was a big place
    So was said
    Till that day at trinity
    I like to think
    The world stood still
    For a fraction
    Of a second
    That's all it took
    In that nuclear instant
    That big world was
    Laid low
    Imagine all of heaven's angles
    Singing it's a small world
    After all
    With tears in their eyes

    1. I'm sure you mean angels, not angles. The work that led to Trinity took place in several locations. Here's the line up according to Wiki: The weapons development portion of this project was located at the Los Alamos Laboratory in northern New Mexico, under the directorship of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. Other development work was carried out at the University of Chicago, Columbia University and the Radiation Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. Theoretically, enriching uranium was feasible through pre-existing techniques, though it proved difficult to scale to industrial levels and was extremely costly. Production of uranium-235 and plutonium were enormous undertakings given the technology of the 1940s, and accounted for 80% of the total costs of the project. Uranium enrichment was carried out at the Clinton Engineer Works near Oak Ridge, Tennessee, while plutonium production was performed in reactors at the Hanford Engineer Works near Hanford, Washington.

      The Trinity test device was a precursor of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki (Fat Man). The Hiroshima bomb (Little Boy) was a different design.

      There was a third design, called Thin Man, but as Wiki says, The "Thin Man" nuclear bomb was a proposed plutonium gun-type nuclear bomb which the United States was developing during the Manhattan Project. Its development was aborted when it was discovered that the spontaneous fission rate of nuclear reactor-bred plutonium was too high for use in a gun-type design.

  2. That's why you became the peace child. War & peace.

    1. Hmmm. Perhaps. But I was never a peace child in the simple sense. I felt that the Viet Nam conflict was the US being on the wrong side because of European alliances (France) and that Uncle Ho would have been far better allied with us than forced to go to the Chinese.
      That's what he wanted originally. With that behind the war there was no way I could agree to it and thus I personally allied with the anti war groups because I wanted us to stop shaming ourselves with the wrong war.

      This is shades of fighting Saddam Hussein over the terrorism that led to the World Trade Center. That too was the wrong war at least as presented to the public. The Afgan part of it all is more directly applied.

  3. Whatever happened to Paul Ziegler? I was a friend of his and heard him play this @ the Brass knocker and at his coffeehouse in San Jose in 1965.
    Susan Maxwell Smith

  4. I don't know how you found this post but I have several that speak of Paul and you can access them by using a search function inside this blog. For me it is up in the left corner when I have the blog up. It will pull up all the blogs with his name in it and you can learn everything I know because I have written it all down. It will also lead to his nephew (his brother's son). I have no idea what happened to him but I did see that he maintained his connection with Kaukonen and that led him to play a bit with Hot Tuna. After that he dropped from sight.

  5. Oh by the way. Kaukonen is still alive and resides on his Fur Peace Ranch in southern Ohio if I remember the state right. He teaches music there when he isn't touring still with Hot Tuna. Getting old though, and rode pretty hard and put up wet in his earlier days. Casady still plays with him. There have been albums, like Blue Country Heart. He may still know where Zeigler is/was if you care enough to ask him. Zeigler was several years older than me and I am nearing 70 so Paul could easily be dead by now.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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