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The Code Name Trinity

The origin of the code name Trinity for the test site is also interesting, but the true source is unknown. One popular account attributes the name to J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific head of the Manhattan Project. According to this version, the well read Oppenheimer based the name Trinity on the fourteenth Holy Sonnet by John Donne, a 16th century English poet and sermon writer. The sonnet started, "Batter my heart, three-personed God."  Another version of the name's origin comes from University of New Mexico historian Ferenc M. Szasz.  In his 1984 book, The Day the Sun Rose Twice, Szasz quotes Robert W. Henderson head of the Engineering Group in the Explosives Division of the Manhattan Project.  Henderson told Szasz that the name Trinity came from Major W. A. (Lex) Stevens. 


According to Henderson, he and Stevens were at the test site discussing the best way to haul Jumbo the thirty miles from the closest railway siding to the test site.  "A devout Roman Catholic, Stevens observed that the railroad siding was called 'Pope's Siding.'  He [then] remarked that the Pope had special access to the Trinity, and that the scientists would need all the help they could get to move the 214 ton Jumbo to its proper spot."

RELATED LINKS
Learn About Trinity - The First Atomic Test
The First Atomic Test
Jumbo
The National Atomic Museum
Schmidt-McDonald Ranch House
The Trinity Test
The Awesome Blast
Notes & Bibliography

RECOMMENDED  LITERATURE

The Day the Sun Rose Twice: The Story of the Trinity Site Nuclear Explosion, July 16, 1945 
by Ferenc Morton Szasz - First published in 1984, this prize-winning history of the Manhattan Project is now available in paperback for the first time, fifty years after the explosion of the first atomic bomb. 
"This tightly focused, lucidly written and thoroughly researched book... describes the events, personalities and scientific processes that led to the detonation of the first atomic bomb in an isolated stretch of New Mexican desert.... Mr. Szasz provides fascinating details.... The Day the Sun Rose Twice is concise and cogent, a valuable introduction to how our nuclear dilemma began." —New York Times Book Review 

"May be the definitive account of the days and hours leading up to the first nuclear explosion in history and the legacy it left. He vividly reconstructs the story: the industrious atmosphere of the scientists and technicians; the grave considerations of those making key decisions; the sense of wonder, and twinges of conscience, at what had been achieved." —Los Angeles Times

 
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