Upcoming events

    • 07/19/2020
    • 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom Meeting

    "Moral Implications of the Manhattan Project"

    This talk will be given by RET member, Bob Compton

    In 1938 two German scientists had discovered that the fission of uranium
    into two nuclei whose masses were less than that of uranium.  They relayed
    this information to Lise Meitner, a Jewish refuge in Denmark, who
    immediately realized that the missing mass went into an enormous energy
    through E = MC^2.  This message was relayed to America and a famous letter
    was drafted by a few immigrant scientists and signed by Einstein alerting
    president Roosevelt.  The Manhattan project began as a race to beat the
    Germans to build an atomic bomb. On July 16, 1945 a plutonium bomb was
    successfully tested at the Trinity site in New Mexico. Shortly after
    Germany surrendered to the allied forces in Europe.  The US and Japan were
    continuing the war in the Pacific.  A uranium bomb(Little Boy) was dropped
    on Hiroshima on August 6 and three days later a plutonium bomb(Fat Boy)
    was dropped on Nagasaki.  Japan surrendered on August 15 to end the

    The decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan was a matter of some moral
    concern at the time and over the years.  We are all aware of a letter
    started by Szilard and signed by many scientists at the University of
    Chicago expressing alternatives to dropping the bomb. This letter was
    halted by Oppenheimer, Compton and others. In about 1962 Hal Schweinler, a
    colleague of mine, who was at ORNL in 1945 showed me a letter signed by
    him and ~20 other Oak Ridge scientists including Alvin Weinberg asking
    Truman to consider alternatives to dropping the weapons on Japan.  I asked
    D. Ray Smith, Oak Ridge historian, about this letter and he came up with
    two such letters.  General Groves and the military at OR nixed these two
    letters arguing that they were security issues.  A similar situation
    occurred in Los Alamos.  The military was in charge! The atomic bombs were
    rated in kilo tons (Little boy and Fat Boy were ~ 15 kilotons).  We now
    have Hydrogen bombs rated in Megatons (The Soviet Union tested one at 50
    Megaton).  Many countries now have A-bombs and a few have H-Bombs.  North
    Korea claims to have produced an H-bomb.  The H-bombs are more powerful
    and are lighter, capable of sitting on the nose cone of an intercontinental missile.

    This talk will open the floor concerning the past and future use of nuclear weapons.

    Time: Jul 19, 2020 10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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    Information about Bob:

    The Compton family came to Oak Ridge in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project.  After graduating from ORHS in 1956, Bob received degrees in Physics from Berea College (BS, 1960), Univ. of Florida (MS, 1962) and Univ. of Tennessee (PhD, 1965).  He was a Sr. Corporate Fellow at ORNL from 1965 to 1995 and was a Professor of Physics and Chemistry at UT from 1995 to 2016.  He is a Fellow of the AAAS, APS and OSA and has received the Beams Award from the APS and the Meggers Award from the OSA.  He was a visiting scientist in Amsterdam, Paris, and Denmark and was an Erskine Fellow at the Univ. of Christchurch in New Zealand.  Along with John Stockdale he formed Comstock, Inc. a small scientific instrument company in 1978 which was sold to VTI in 2016.

Past events

07/12/2020 RET Skeptics Book Club Sunday Meeting via Zoom
07/05/2020 First Sunday Zoom Meeting
06/21/2020 Third Sunday Meeting via Zoom
04/19/2020 Annual Public Lecture -- cancelled
04/04/2020 Adopt-a-Highway - Cancelled
03/22/2020 Reflections -- Cancelled
03/15/2020 Third Sunday Meeting - Cancelled
03/01/2020 First Sunday Discussion
02/27/2020 Blount County Social Event
02/23/2020 Fourth Sunday - Special Speaker, Dave Warnock
02/16/2020 Reflections (Different DATE and LOCATION)
02/09/2020 Skeptic Book Club
02/02/2020 Annual Membership Meeting
01/26/2020 Reflections: Discussion and Pot Luck
01/19/2020 Third Sunday Meeting
01/12/2020 Skeptic Book Club
01/11/2020 Adopt-A-Highway
01/05/2020 First Sunday Meeting
12/15/2019 Third Sunday
12/08/2019 Skeptic Book Club
12/01/2019 First Sunday
11/17/2019 Third Sunday
11/10/2019 Skeptic Book Club
11/03/2019 First Sunday
10/27/2019 Reflections: Discussion and Pot Luck
10/20/2019 Third Sunday
10/13/2019 Skeptic Book Club
10/12/2019 Adopt-A-Highway
10/06/2019 First Sunday
09/22/2019 Reflections: Discussion and Pot Luck
09/15/2019 Third Sunday Presentation
09/08/2019 Skeptic Book Club
09/01/2019 First Sunday Presentation
08/25/2019 Reflections: Discussion and Pot Luck
08/18/2019 Third Sunday Meeting
08/11/2019 Skeptic Book Club
08/04/2019 First Sunday Meeting
07/28/2019 Reflections: Discussion and Pot Luck
07/21/2019 Third Sunday Meeting
07/21/2019 Third Sunday Meeting
07/14/2019 Skeptic Book Club
07/13/2019 Adopt a Highway
07/07/2019 First Sunday Meeting
06/23/2019 Reflections: Discussion and Pot Luck
06/09/2019 Skeptic Book Club
06/02/2019 First Sunday Meeting
05/19/2019 Annual Free Public Lecture
05/12/2019 Skeptic Book Club
05/05/2019 First Sunday Roundtable
04/28/2019 Reflections: Discussion and Pot Luck
04/21/2019 Third Sunday Roundtable
04/14/2019 Skeptic Book Club
04/13/2019 Adopt-a-Highway
04/07/2019 First Sunday Meeting
03/24/2019 Reflections
03/17/2019 Third Sunday Meeting
03/10/2019 Skeptic Book Club
03/03/2019 First Sunday Meeting
02/17/2019 Third Sunday Meeting
02/10/2019 Skeptic Book Club
02/03/2019 First Sunday Meeting
01/20/2019 Third Sunday Meeting
01/13/2019 Skeptic Book Club
01/12/2019 Adopt-a-Highway
01/06/2019 First Sunday Meeting
01/06/2019 Board of Directors meeting
12/16/2018 Third Sunday Meeting
12/09/2018 Skeptic Book Club
12/02/2018 First Sunday Roundtable
11/25/2018 Reflections
11/18/2018 Third Sunday Meeting
11/11/2018 Skeptic Book Club
11/11/2018 Board of Directors meeting
11/04/2018 First Sunday Meeting
10/28/2018 Reflections
10/21/2018 Third Sunday Meeting
10/14/2018 Skeptic Book Club
10/13/2018 Adopt-a-Highway
10/07/2018 First Sunday Meeting
09/16/2018 Third Sunday Meeting
09/02/2018 RET First Sunday Meeting
08/19/2018 Trip to Gray Fossil Site and Museum, 1212 Suncrest Drive, Gray, Tennessee 37615
08/12/2018 Skeptic Book Club
08/05/2018 First Sunday Meeting
07/15/2018 Online Security and Privacy
07/08/2018 Skeptic Book Club
07/07/2018 Adopt-a-Highway
07/01/2018 NO RET First Sunday July 1
06/17/2018 Third Sunday Meeting
06/16/2018 Annual Summer Solstice Celebration
06/10/2018 Skeptic Book Club
06/03/2018 RET First Sunday
05/20/2018 Third Sunday Meeting
05/13/2018 Skeptic Book Club
05/06/2018 First Sunday Roundatable
05/03/2018 Annual Day of Reason Cook Out
04/29/2018 Annual Public Speaker
04/22/2018 Reflections—Discussion and Pot Luck
04/15/2018 Third Sunday Meeting
04/08/2018 Skeptic Book Club
04/07/2018 Adopt A Highway on Pellissippi
04/01/2018 First Sunday Roundtable
03/25/2018 Reflections - Are our smart phones psychologically ruining us?
03/18/2018 Third Sunday Meeting
03/11/2018 Skeptic Book Club
03/04/2018 First Sunday Meeting
02/25/2018 RET Reflections
02/18/2018 Third Sunday Meetinfg
02/11/2018 Skeptic Book Club
02/04/2018 Annual Membership Meeting
01/28/2018 RET Reflections
01/21/2018 Third Sunday Meeting
01/14/2018 Skeptic Book Club
01/13/2018 Trash Pickup on Pellissippi
01/07/2018 First Sunday Meeting
12/17/2017 Third Sunday Meeting
12/10/2017 Skeptic Book Club
12/03/2017 First Sunday Meeting
11/19/2017 RET Third Sunday Meeting
11/12/2017 Skeptic Book Club
11/05/2017 First Sunday Meeting
10/15/2017 Third Sunday Meeting
10/08/2017 Skeptic Book Club
10/07/2017 Trash pick-up on Pellissippi
10/01/2017 First Sunday Meeting
09/17/2017 Third Sunday Meeting
09/10/2017 Skeptic Book Club
09/03/2017 First Sunday Meeting
08/20/2017 Third Sunday Meeting
08/13/2017 Skeptic Book Club
08/06/2017 First Sunday Meeting
07/16/2017 Third Sunday Meeting
07/09/2017 Skeptic Book Club
07/08/2017 Trash pick-up on Pellissippi
06/18/2017 Third Sunday Meeting
06/11/2017 Skeptic Book Club
06/04/2017 First Sunday Meeting
05/21/2017 Third Sunday Meeting in May
05/14/2017 Skeptic Book Club
05/07/2017 First Sunday Presentation
05/04/2017 Day of Reason Cookout
04/30/2017 Annual Public Lecture - Hemant Mehta
04/23/2017 Reflections
04/16/2017 Third Sunday Meeting
04/09/2017 Skeptic Book Club
04/02/2017 First Sunday Presentation
04/01/2017 Trash pick-up on Pellissippi
03/26/2017 Reflections
03/19/2017 Third Sunday Meeting
03/12/2017 The Skeptic Book Club
03/05/2017 First Sunday "Genes, Environment and Fate: The Origins of Human DIfferences"
02/26/2017 Reflections
02/19/2017 Third Sunday Meeting
02/12/2017 Skeptic Book Club
02/05/2017 Annual Business Meeting
01/22/2017 Reflections
01/15/2017 Third Sunday Meeting
01/14/2017 Trash Pick Up on Pellissippi
01/08/2017 Skeptic Book Club
12/18/2016 RET Third Sunday Meeting in December
12/11/2016 Skeptic Book Club
12/04/2016 First Sunday Meeting
11/27/2016 Reflections
11/20/2016 Third Sunday Meeting
11/13/2016 Skeptic Book Club for November
11/06/2016 First Sunday
10/16/2016 RET Third Sunday Meeting
10/09/2016 Skeptic Book Club
10/08/2016 Trash Pickup on Pellissippi
10/02/2016 First Sunday: "Shifting Context: How Innocuous Legislation Becomes Controversial, Without Changing a Word"
09/18/2016 Third Sunday Meeting
09/11/2016 Skeptic Book Club
09/03/2016 Smoky Mountain Freethought Advance
08/28/2016 Reflections
08/21/2016 Third Sunday Meeting
08/14/2016 Skeptic Book Club
08/07/2016 First Sunday
07/24/2016 RET Reflections
07/23/2016 RET Highway Clean-Up
07/17/2016 Third Sunday Roundtable
07/10/2016 Skeptic Book Club
07/03/2016 First Sunday Meeting
06/26/2016 RET Reflections
06/19/2016 Third Sunday Meeting
06/12/2016 Skeptic Book Club
06/05/2016 First Sunday Meeting
05/15/2016 RET Annual Public Meeting
05/08/2016 Skeptic Book Club
05/05/2016 Bible Belt National Day of Reason Picnic
05/01/2016 First Sunday Meeting
04/24/2016 RET Reflections
04/23/2016 Adopt-A-Highway trash pickup
04/17/2016 Third Sunday Meeting
04/10/2016 Skeptic Book Club
04/03/2016 First Sunday Meeting
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02/21/2016 Third Sunday Meeting
02/16/2016 Free Thought Forum Community TV
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02/14/2016 Skeptic Book Club
01/24/2016 Reflections
01/23/2016 Free Thought Radio
01/21/2016 Free Thought Radio
01/17/2016 Third Sunday Meeting
01/16/2016 Adopt A Highway clean up
01/10/2016 Skeptic Book Club
01/03/2016 First Sunday Meeting
12/20/2015 Third Sunday Meeting
12/13/2015 Free Thought Radio Hour
12/13/2015 Skeptic Book Club
12/06/2015 First Sunday Meeting
11/22/2015 Reflections
11/15/2015 RET Third Sunday Meeting
11/08/2015 Skeptic Book Club for November
11/01/2015 First Sunday - Movie
10/24/2015 Adopt A Highway Trash Pickup
10/18/2015 Third Sunday Meeting
10/13/2015 Shelley Segal Concert
10/11/2015 Skeptic Book Club for October
10/04/2015 First Sunday Meeting
09/24/2015 Autumnal Equinox Picnic
09/20/2015 Third Sunday Meeting
09/13/2015 Skeptic Book Club for September
09/06/2015 First Sunday Meeting
08/16/2015 Third Sunday Meeting
08/09/2015 Skeptic Book Club for August
07/03/2015 Smoky Mountain Advance
05/17/2015 Third Sunday Meeting
11/15/2014 The Demography of Unbelief
10/31/2014 Halloween Luncheon
10/19/2014 3rd Sunday Meeting
09/30/2014 Freethought Forum on Community TV of Knoxville
09/23/2014 Freethought Forum on Community TV of Knoxville
09/21/2014 3rd Sunday Meeting
09/16/2014 Freethought Forum on Community TV of Knoxville
09/14/2014 Skeptic Book Club
09/14/2014 Skeptic Book Club
09/09/2014 Freethought Forum on Community TV of Knoxville
09/07/2014 First Sunday Meeting
09/02/2014 Freethought Forum on Community TV of Knoxville
08/26/2014 Freethought Forum on Community TV of Knoxville

Upcoming events

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