Programming Marks 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Age

Seventy years ago this July, the U.S. carried out its first tests of the atomic bomb and in August 1945, the weapon was used against Japan. This summer PBS is airing The Bomb and Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail, two new documentaries to mark the anniversary of the dawn of the Atomic Age.


This month NPT will broadcast four programs related to the anniversary:

Friday, July 24, at 7 p.m. Knoxville filmmaker Keith McDaniel’s Secret City: The Oak Ridge Story explores the East Tennessee city’s role in the isolation of uranium, the key element in the atomic bomb. As the film states, though the city didn’t appear on maps in the 1940s, it was home to 75,000 people and the site of a round-the-clock wartime effort involving 100,000 workers.

Tuesday, July 28, at 7 p.m. The Bomb chronicles the development of the atomic bomb through interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes (The Making of the Atomic Bomb) and other historians, defense experts, and men and women who helped build the bomb. The documentary includes footage only recently declassified by the Department of Defense.

Tuesday, July 28, at 9 p.m. Produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Sonya Pemberton, Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail, is a two-part documentary about the element and its uses. In the first part, “How a Rock Became a Bomb,” host physicist Derek Muller traces the element’s origins.

Wednesday, July 29, at 8 p.m. Four years after one of history’s worst nuclear accidents, NOVA: Nuclear Meltdown Disaster reveals the minute-by-minute story of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear crisis and its ongoing aftermath.

Wednesday, July 29, at 9 p.m. The globe-traversing story of history and science continues in the second part of Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail. “The Rock That Changed the World” discusses life in the atomic age and the varying uses of atomic power. Among the places visited is Chernobyl, site of the 1986 Russian nuclear accident.

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