But It is Only a Theory
On 16 July 1945, a team of scientists assembled near Alamogordo, New Mexico to watch the first test of the atomic bomb. Given the research that had gone into the atomic bomb’s production, most of the scientists probably expected the test to go off as planned, but nobody really knew for certain. Some worried that absolutely nothing would happen; others feared that an earth-destroying series of cataclysmic explosions would be touched off. To that time, nobody had ever seen an atom. Its existence was entirely theoretical. That must have been of enormous comfort to the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, upon whom, on 6 and 9 August 1945, respectively, atom bombs were dropped. Those were the only times atomic energy was used in warfare, and debate over whether or not it was justifiable continues to this day. Since then the atom has been put to more constructive use. It is commonly used today to generate electricity and to drive battleships. Nobody doubts the existence of the atom, and scientists work with them and with subatomic particles all the time. But to date, still nobody has seen an atom, and scientists still speak routinely about the atomic theory.