Tagged: Favourite

The Preliminary Tower at Trinity, 1945

JF Ptak Science Books   Quick Post     Part of the series on Atomic and Nuclear Weapons

Here’s an interesting formerly Top Secret document from the Lee Groves collection of the George C. Marshall Foundation:

Atomic bomb tower Groves archive

The document is dated two days after the Trinity test of 16 July–I presently do not know why this is so.  

“The sketch is of a test cylinder procured and installed at a time when we were uncertain as to the explosive power of the bomb. If, at the time of the test, we anticipated that the force might be relatively small or even that there might be no nuclear explosion, we were going to place the bomb in the cylinder so that it would be possible to recover the plutonium.”–Marshall Foundation, below. 

The cylinder/container for the bomb was called “Jumbo”, and was 25’x10′ and 214 tons–a big thing.  It was decided at some near point that “Jumbo” would not be necessary as it became evident to many that the bomb would indeed “work”.  “Jumbo” and the tower were constructed and ready but abandoned for their intended purpose–it was left to stand, about 800 yards from the point of explosion; afterwards, “Jumbo” remained intact but its steel tower was completely destroyed. 

Source: the George C. Marshall Foundation: http://j.mp/1NCWeXR

Thanks to Gene Dannen at www.dannen.com for the lead on this.  

By: Ptak Science Books
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries
Source: http://j.mp/1NCWfe5

A Plate Full of Eyes (1851)

JF Ptak Science Books  Quick Post

J.G. Heck wrote and compiled a fascinating and complex work entitled The Iconographic Encyclopedia of Science, Literature and Art, and was published in America for the first time in 1851 following Spencer Baird’s translation from its original German.


The key to his work is the amount of data displayed on each of the 500 engraved plates illustrating this work and the way in which it is arranged.  The design and layout of the 30,000 items on these 500 plates was a work of genius, and for my money it is easily the best-presented complex means of the display of data and objects that was published in the 19th century.  

The image above is from one engraved plate featuring 43 aspects of the human eye–beautifully arranged, and somehow fitting perfectly on the 9×11″ sheet of paper.  It is a work of real design engineering.  

The image above is a detail from:


By: Ptak Science Books
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries
Source: http://j.mp/1NCWeHf