In the 1940s, the atom bomb went from first conception to first use. The United States' bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945 showed the terror and destruction of atomic weapons to the world. At the same time, nuclear energy was beginning to be explored as an alternative to traditional energy sources. George Tames captured this transitionary period in atomic weapons and energy in the several groups of photographs below.
To see more information about the photographs, click on the images to see their full object record.
A speaker addresses the crowd at an Atomic Energy Week presentation in Prince George County, Maryland. Literature was availible explaining the potential uses of atomic power.
These images show scientists studying animals that were exposed to radiation. They tested whether the radioactivity changed the animals' reproductive success or white blood cell count.
David E. Lilienthal, pictured here, chaired the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), a federal agency founded in 1946 by President Truman to "manage the development, use, and control of atomic (nuclear) energy for military and civilian applications." See the United States Nuclear Regulatory Committee for more information.
These images show the Public Hearing of the Special Committee on Atomic Energy in the US Senate. The caption sheet enclosed with the negatives included a paraphrased comment by Dr. Irving Langmuir, a researcher for General Electric: "science is the reason we won the war; can’t declare a holiday in science because we don’t like certain aspects of its accomplishments, such as the atomic bomb." For more information on this hearing, see Henry A. Wallace's Criticism of America's Atomic Monopoly, 1945-1948 by Mayako Shimamoto.