For the first time, human beings harnessed the power of atomic fission.
By figuring out fission, physicists were able to split uranium atoms and release massive amounts of energy. This Manhattan Project work paved the way both for atomic bombs and nuclear power reactors.
Fifty years after the Maralinga atomic tests, an exhibition grapples with the pain and devastation left behind.
Karen Standke, Road to Maralinga II (detail). Supplied
The Maralinga atomic tests were devastating to life and land in Central Australia. Black Mist Burnt Country brings together dozens of artistic responses in a powerful, but somewhat incoherent memorial.
Blasted trees in the aftermath of a bomb test at Maralinga.
On September 27, 1956, an atomic mushroom cloud rose above the Maralinga plain - the first of seven British bomb tests. Why was Australia so keen to put UK military interests ahead of its own people?
The Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, which dropped the first atomic bomb in history. The bomb was made from Congolese ore.
The Soviet Union tested its own atomic bomb in 1949, to the profound shock of the US. This heated up the Cold War dramatically and thrust the Congo to the centre of American geopolitical strategy
‘A-Day’ marked the first of 23 atomic bomb explosions at Bikini.
Department of Energy
In the summer of 1946, the U.S. government detonated the first of many atomic bomb tests in the Marshall Islands. Seventy years of radiation exposure later, residents are still fighting for justice.
Atomic cloud over Nagasaki.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were but two cataclysms among many: in the literal sense, they were unremarkable.
Two months after the bombing at Hiroshima.
US Department of Defense
US military censors contained information after the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leaving Americans with a limited understanding of the impact of radiation.
The average age of survivors is now 80. In five years, very few of these first-hand witnesses will be around to remember the event. Many of their stories are in danger of being lost forever.
Neo Tokyo – the setting of the popular anime film Akira – is about to explode.
In the wake of the atomic bombs, a number of Japanese animators would question mankind's relationship with technology.
Americans heard about atomic bombs long before one was actually built.
US Department of Defense
News of the Hiroshima bombing spread quickly to the US public but, thanks to science fiction writers, atomic bombs were discussed more before the war began than during it.
The Museum of Science and Industry in Hiroshima, August 1945.
Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com
John Hersey's article Hiroshima (1946) is seminal in historical and literary terms: the shocking realities of the atomic bomb demanded a new way of writing.
A major challenge facing writers who want to take on the Bomb is that conventional description fails.
EPA/HIROSHIMA PEACE MEMORIAL MUSEUM HANDOUT
Hollywood has kept its distance from the bombing of Hiroshima, 70 years ago, and novelists, aside from sci-fi authors, have largely ignored the catastrophe as a means of exploring human nature. Why?
Blowing up the desert – and people’s minds: the first atom bomb test in 1945.
The first atom bomb test seventy years ago today marks the start of a change in Americans' thinking about radiation. On balance, our nuclear anxieties endure today.
A nuclear test explosion from April 1954.
A number of states have given up on pursuing nuclear disarmament through the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Instead they are moving to create a new legal mechanism for banning nuclear weapons