Citizendium - a community developing a quality, comprehensive compendium of knowledge, online and free.
Click here to join and contribute
CZ thanks our previous donors. Donate here. Treasurer's Financial Report

Talk:Los Alamos National Laboratory

From Citizendium
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is developed but not approved.
Main Article
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
Gallery [?]
To learn how to update the categories for this article, see here. To update categories, edit the metadata template.
 Definition A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory located in Los Alamos, New Mexico and originally the development and construction center of nuclear weapons during the Manhattan Project for use by the United States in World War II. [d] [e]
Checklist and Archives
 Workgroup categories Physics, History and Military [Categories OK]
 Subgroup category:  Chemical Engineering
 Talk Archive none  English language variant American English

Comment on an excellent article

Milton, you are irrepressible, another outstanding piece of work. I could hardly find a place for a comma.

In section 1.2, Post World War II, where you describe the development and testing of the Super, the reader gets no sense of the role of LANL in that development and testing, and subsequent activities related to the H-Bomb. At least I did not.

It's not important, but I missed not seeing reference to General Leslie Groves, though he's certainly covered in Silent Voices on the Bibliography subpage.

Re External Links, consider: A section therein says:

"LANL was created in 1943 to serve as a secret laboratory dedicated to research, development, and construction of nuclear weapons. Facilities include plutonium and tritium processing plants, an eight megawatt research reactor and various laser and high explosives buildings. Until April 1984, Los Alamos had the capability to fabricate and assemble nuclear weapon test devices." here.

Great work. Anthony.Sebastian 02:58, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the review, Anthony. At your suggestion, I added this sentence into section 1.2: "LANL played a major role in the design and construction of the thermonuclear test devices and bombs." I also added a link to the website, again as you suggested.
As for General Groves, I just don't think his role was as important, by far, as that of the physicists at Los Alamos. His job consisted of having Army engineers construct the site buildings and infrastructure and to maintain the secrecy of what was going on. As it turned out, he did a poor job of maintaining the secrecy ... the Soviet spies at Los Alamos (Klaus Fuchs and others) passed on almost everything the Soviets needed. Anyhow, he is mentioned often enough in many of the main article references as well as in the Bibligraphy items. Milton Beychok

Comments per Milton's request

Good job! Overall an excellent summary. Two comments, one important and one less important. The trivial one is that I would move the second bomb photo over to the right like the preceding two photos; this is just cosmetic, but I find it visually less jarring during reading when the photos are over on one side so my eyes don't have to do a sidewinder kind of thing. The second, most important impression is, that I think the introduction would benefit from being more dramatic. I believe in first impressions, when writing. I mean, LA is THE PLACE, one of the historic places where a historic event came down, and incidentally it's still pretty cool. Right now, it reads like "Here's a place, managed by so and so (never heard of them)." Whereas the initial impact could be more like "This is the place where the first nuke was developed in great secrecy during WWII, and nowadays it has evolved into a very important center for all kinds of scientific research." I'd be glad to make a stab at actually writing a first sentence for you, but it might be more fun if you did it your way. I'm just trying to give the emotional impact that the very first sentence of this article could have. Like a good resume, I tend either to quit reading right away, or, if I'm gripped up, read the whole darn thing.Pat Palmer 19:07, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Another minor thing: the org chart is time sensitive. Chances are, in 2 years, they'll have it completely turned upside down. Voice of experience here after 15 years in Bell Laboratories. So I would be sure and put as "as of 2011" on there somewhere.Pat Palmer 19:09, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
Now I've got the neurons firing. How many folks work there today? Are there other, somewhat comparable, Nat'l Labs (Oak Ridge, TN maybe)? What kind of federal budget outlay lies behind running such a facility? Why is it's running outsourced? (they all do that now). These might be answered in there; I'll admit I rushed through it.Pat Palmer 19:12, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Pat. Taking your comments one at a time:
  • Go ahead and change the first sentence or two as you see fit ... and then I might further revise it.
  • As for the third photo (the one on the left), I think we will have to agree to disagree. I find it boring to line up all the graphics on one side.
  • I will add "as of 2011" to the org chart as you suggested.
  • The number of on site personnel (i.e., staff) is 11,782 including the 1,116 students ... just as it says in the Personnel and operating costs section. I phoned their press relations people and they confirmed that the students were indeed "on site personnel".
  • The total annual operating costs for 2010 amounted to $2,000,000 (2 billion dollars) again just as it says in the Personnel and operating costs section.
  • There are about 8 other national labs. Why are so many of them outsourced? That gets into the prevailing political atmosphere in the lunatic asylum that we call Washington, D.C. ... and I don't think this article should dare to touch that subject. (The Army outsources some of its military work to contractors in Iraq, Medicare outsources all of it billing and payments to a private firm, NASA is now going to outsource the work previously done by their space shuttles, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum. After all, big corporations have to earn money, don't they??)
Once again, thanks for your review. Milton Beychok 22:13, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Rationale for edits

Regarding these changes: Russell D. Jones 14:12, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

  1. Removed list: IMO articles read better as text not lists.
  2. Removed paragraph about Roosevelt dying and Truman becoming president because nothing in that paragraph related to or discussed LANL.
  3. Reworded discussion about end of war: I question seriously that Japan was "still waging aggressive war" in August 1945. Japan had not surrendered but it also had no capability to wage "aggressive" war. I also removed the references to Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the sentence about Truman authorizing the use of nuclear weapons. The individual targets were not chosen by Truman (indeed the choice of Nagasaki as a target was not made until minutes before the attack; Nagasaki was the secondary target on that mission).
Russell, thank you for your thorough review. The only edit of yours, with which I disagree, is the deletion of the one short sentence (a little over 1 line of text) about Roosevelt dying and Truman becoming president. The earlier part of the history section discusses how and why Roosevelt gave the go-ahead for the Manhattan project. Then in a later part of the history section, it is mentioned that Truman decided to go-ahead with using the a-bomb on Japan. Don't you think that it is a good idea to explain to the readers that Roosevelt had died and the presidency had changed hands? I was in my 20s at the time and therefore I know that the presidency changed hands when Roosevelt died. But I am 88 years old and there aren't that many of that age still around. The average reader of this articles, unless he is a real student of history like yourself, will need that one sentence explanation, don't you think?
Would you please reinstate the one sentence explanation of why it was Truman who made the decision to use the A-bomb? Milton Beychok 05:58, 19 August 2011 (UTC)