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Norris Bradbury, group leader for bomb assembly, stands next to the partially assembled Gadget atop the test tower at Los Alamos in 1945.

U.S. Gov./Cover Images via Reuters Connect

Building the bomb, tickling the dragon

“Tickling the dragon’s tail.” That’s how the small group of physicists working at Los Alamos in the 1940s under the watch of Robert Oppenheimer described the dangerous job of assembling a nuclear core for the first atomic bomb. One wrong move and a chain nuclear reaction — the dragon — could have wiped them all out.

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