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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Technical/Scientific history of the work at Los Alamos, 1 Nov. 1998
By A Customer
This is a great book if you are a scientist, particularly if you are a physicist. This is a technical history of the Manhattan project at it relates to the work done at Los Alamos Lab leading to the first atomic explosions. You'll learn the fine details of the work as a scientist would recount them. You'll be amazed at the limited knowledge and instrumentation available at the time!!! You'll be surprised by the methods used to get things done in time! And you will be impressed by the
schedules and the accomplishments made in those years of hard -and we are told in details how and why it was hard- work!
If you have worked at a National Lab (and even if you haven't) you'll understand how the concept of the national laboratory came about by understanding the work in the early days of Los Alamos involving a fine interplay between the scientific, the engineering and the programmatic thrusts.
Recommending this book seems like an understatement. If you are a physicist, a chemist, a mathematician, a computer scientist you want to read this book and understand how they did it!
The only thing that could be improved in this book is possibly including a few diagrams. I am not sure whether that is because they might still be classified, but they must exist the archives at Los Alamos. And adding a diagram here and there would certainly be helpful to the reader. If there had to be a revised edition, that's where improvement could find a home.
I'd challenge the team that wrote this book to tackle other successes such as the history of Fermilab or SLAC for example. And not to shy away from a tougher one -not a success story- the history of the failed SSC project. Use some of that insight and record in a similar manner how science, engineering and a really fine mission (not equaled in the latter half of this century) sadly failed that time around...
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Critical Assembly: A Technical History of Los Alamos during the Oppenheimer Years, 1943-1945
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