Interest has been building all year for the Christopher Nolan film “Oppenheimer.” The movie follows J. Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist who was the director of Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico during World War II and helped develop the atomic bomb through the Manhattan Project. The movie was filmed in New Mexico. The state has a deep history with the research and development of nuclear weapons and is now home to two national research laboratories. If you’re interested in learning more about Oppenheimer, the Manhattan Project and nuclear science, Albuquerque is a great place to visit.
National Museum of Nuclear Science & History
The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History features exhibits on the Atomic Age from early development of nuclear technology to today’s uses of nuclear energy. The exhibit “Critical Assembly, the Secrets of Los Alamos 1944: An Installation by American Sculptor Jim Sanborn” explores the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. It includes original electronic instruments, hardware, tools and more used at Los Alamos during the 1940s. You can also see the flag raised at the Trinity Site in 1945 and a Packard Clipper that traveled from Los Alamos to the Trinity Site.
Explora is a hands-on science museum geared towards children, but provides a fun and engaging experience for all ages. The “My Chain Reaction” exhibit allows visitors to explore actions and reactions, including some that make nuclear technology possible.
Learn More at an Event
The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is hosting a showing of “Oppenheimer After Trinity” at the Guild Cinema on July 22. This documentary explores what happened after the world’s first atomic bomb was detonated in 1945.
Attend “The Uranium Club” book signing and lecture Aug. 5. This book delves into the Nazi nuclear program, and the race between Germans and Americans to create an atomic bomb.
Learn more about inertial confinement fusion from top scientists while sipping on beer at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History’s "Science on Tap" event Aug. 11.
Take a Day Trip to Los Alamos
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Explore where scientists developed the atomic bomb at Los Alamos. The Bradbury Science Museum has “J. Robert Oppenheimer: The Exhibit” on display through Oct. 16. Visitors can view objects related to Oppenheimer, including handwritten notes and his McKibbin Card. The Los Alamos History Museum has various exhibits depicting what Los Alamos was like during the 1940s.
Take a Day Trip to the Trinity Site
The Trinity Site is the location of the detonation of the first atomic bomb, a test that took place in July 1945. Located 60 miles north of White Sands National Park and about 230 miles south of Albuquerque, the Trinity Site is now a National Historic Landmark that includes the base camp where the scientists lived, the McDonald ranch house where the plutonium core was assembled, and Ground Zero where the bomb was detonated. The Trinity Site is open to the public only two days a year. The next Open House dates are Oct. 21, 2023, and April 6, 2024. Officials say they expect the October date to be extra busy due to the release of the “Oppenheimer” movie, so arrive early and be prepared for a wait.