Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Mexico trip includes visit to special museum

September 9, 2010

Last week when we were in Albuquerque, N.M., we had an opportunity to visit a special museum.

The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History is the nation's only congressionally chartered museum in its field and is a Smithsonian affiliate. It was originally established in 1969 at Kirkland Air force Base in New Mexico for the purpose of having an intriguing place to learn the story of the Atomic Age.

After Sept. 11, 2001, due to heightened security and the difficulty for visitors to get on base, it was moved to Old Town area of Albuquerque in 2002. Then in 2009 it was moved to its present and permanent location. Sen. Pete V. Domenici, who was on the board of directors, was influential in getting this wonderful museum going.

It has many great exhibits of past, present and future with photos and stories about the field's pioneers. I was happy to be able to read a letter written by Albert Einstein to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the letter, Einstein explained the opportunity of a new energy source for the world, and President Roosevelt immediately put together a group of the most brilliant minds in the country to pursue Einstein's suggestion.

As you walk into the building look down and see the tiles on the floor that are individually marked with all the known elements along with names of folks who donated these tiles.

Ada enjoyed trying to remember what she learned in chemistry class in high school. There is a large area outside with a B-29, missiles, rockets, cannons and part of a nuclear submarine. I am sure Albert Einstein did not have a bomb in mind when all the research was being done. There are many healthful and practical benefits of radioactivity.

One of the famed scientists we learned about in school was Madam Marie Curie. She was born in Poland in 1867 and died in 1934. She was the first person to be honored with two Nobel Peace Prizes. She discovered the theory of Radio-Activity and two elements.

During the cold war many of us can remember being urged to build a fallout shelter in our basements and keep a supply of food and necessary items. It still is a good idea, hopefully not because of bombs, but storms as well.

Our young minds have an amazing potential and the children of today can learn of the endless possibilities of nuclear science. I would encourage any of you, if you are down that direction, to visit this wonderful museum.


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