Editor's Note: This transcript was automatically transcribed, so mistakes are inevitable. You can contribute by proofreading the transcript or highlighting the mistakes. Sign up to be amongst the first contributors.
This is the BBC. This podcast is supported by advertising outside the UK. This is the BBC. This podcast is supported by advertising outside the UK. I have a vivid childhood memory of visiting my grandmother's house near Oakridge, Tennessee. Above the bed where I slept hung a photo of my grandfather standing in front of a mushroom cloud. I'd stare at his image on my grandmother's wall for hours. I didn't know what it was. I didn't know what it meant.
I never met my grandfather. He died before I was born. But now I know what he did. Now I know what he helped to create last night, target for the first atomic bomb was the city of Hiroshima on the shores of the inland sea west of covid. My grandfather worked on the bomb that dropped on the city of Hiroshima 75 years ago. As I've grown older, I've tried to make sense of my grandfather's choices.
I've tried to make sense of what he was involved with, and I'm still trying to make sense of what humanity unleashed when it dropped that bomb.
The only description that I can come up with reminds me of years gone by when they used to pave the streets with a car and that's exactly what the city of Hiroshima looked like. To understand, I've gone back to the beginning, back before Hiroshima and Nagasaki, before my grandfather got involved at Oak Ridge, and it led me to a fascinating guy all but forgotten by history. Leo Silverglade Zijlaard was just a hugely curious person.
Leo Szilard solution conceives the idea of a nuclear chain.
Reaction is way ahead of a lot of people who didn't foresee the threat to the world community, the future of civilization that was unleashed. Salade had a kind of allergy to authority figures. This man was the first to realize the potential of the nuclear chain reaction, the first to realize its destructive power and having worked to unleash its potential, he then wanted more than anything to stop it.
Was the bomb inevitable? Could somebody have stopped it? My name is Emily Strasser and this is the bomb from the BBC World Service. Episode one will be available from August 1st. Search for the bomb wherever you get your podcast and if your podcast app allows subscribe so you'll get all the new episodes automatically.