2015, East Lansing, Michigan (USA)
In 2015 I spent many month at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan writing on my dissertation on nuclear risk perception: 'The sound of risk and the art of change.'
Human will can move mountains
The library allowed me to find out and learn more about the beginning of the nuclear bomb. One book for example had many black and with pictures of the Los Alamos Laboratory, where all the scientists lived from 1942 on for three years to build the bomb. I understood that the Manhattan Project was a unique moment in human history, at least from my point of view. World War II allowed to bring together money, logistics, knowledge and will to produce the most powerful weapon in the world. The best scientists, for example, usually very individual people, decided freely to live together with their families in a prison like areal to work on the secret bomb. As soon as the war was over they left and went back to different universities. If we really want and need to, we can do a lot together. We can also join for nuclear disarmament. If we all want to. It is our choice.
Oral history. A flying canoe
A second observation I made still makes me wonder. In a book I was reading of a place in Canada where uranium to build the bomb for Hiroshima was taken from. There is a story among native people form this area that many decades ago, before white people were in the country, a group of native people passed a rock near a lake. When resting at the place, the medicine man started crying and kept crying the hole night. The next day he told that in his dream he saw people with flying canoes coming to the rock, taking part of it. They flew in the dessert and put it on a bigger flying canoe. The medicine man followed the flying canoe, flying across the ocean to drop the rock above a different country, bringing suffering to people. He ordered all people of his tripe to not to drink water from around the rock and to always stop to pray and honor the rock with gifts. This story was known among the native people, before uranium was taken from this place in Canada to build the Hiroshima bomb.
We can be the change
For me this two stories I was reading show the same: if we care as human beings we can bring a change to the world. There is a story why we created nuclear bombs, there is a reason. And there will be a reason why we are ending the ear of nuclear arms, as weapons of destruction and deterrence in the world. There is. Will we see the reason? Will we accept it already today?
What will remain a question we will hand over to the next generation for many generations is the question of how to best govern the knowledge and the existing infrastructure to safeguard the knowledge and technology. This is the heritage of World War II and the Manhattan Project.