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Religion and the Bomb
December 28, 2017
With nuclear weapons back in the news, we hear how scientists and activists have turned to religion to grapple with the awesome destructive force of the atomic bomb.
Is That Radioactivity or the Light Within? December 28, 2017
Toward the end of World War II, Ralph Steinhardt’s father became one of hundreds of experts tasked with developing an atomic bomb at a secret laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. According to Steinhardt, every night, his father threw away his clothing because it was radioactive. Growing up, Steinhardt was torn over his father’s role in building the bomb, and eventually he turned to Quakerism to find peace… and forgiveness. 

Ralph Steinhardt, professor of law and international affairs at George Washington University Law School
"I Am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds" December 28, 2017
J. Robert Oppenheimer was the wartime head of the Los Alamos laboratory in New Mexico. It was there, on July 16, 1945, that he and his fellow scientists conducted the Trinity Test - the first detonation of a nuclear bomb. But to Ray Monk, Oppenheimer was also a secular Jew, a student of the Bhagavad Gita, and at times, a puzzlement.  

Ray Monk is a British philosopher and the author of Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center

Oppenheimer's ID badge from the Los Alamos Labratory.
A Nun's Anti-Nuclear Crusade December 28, 2017
Until a few years ago, the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee was considered one of the most secure nuclear sites in the world. But that changed in the summer of 2012, when three people broke in, using hammers and lock-cutters from a local hardware store. They were peace activists: a house painter, a Vietnam War veteran, and… an 82-year-old Catholic nun. Reporter Dan Zak tells us the story.

Dan Zak is the author of Almighty: Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age
Podcast Extra: More Ray Monk December 28, 2017
We've got an extended version of our interview with Ray Monk, with more thoughts about how those involved in the Manhattan Project worked to limit nuclear weapons after the war... plus, a reading.