sits at exact ground
zero at the Trinity Site.
and a half hours’ drive from the New Mexico site of
the 2004 Congress meeting sits the valley known for centuries
as Jornada del Meurto, the Journey of Death. There
on Monday, July 16, 1945, the pre-dawn desert was suddenly
lit with incredible brilliance as the world’s first
nuclear explosion was detonated at 5:29:45 AM. Since that
moment the world has never been the same.
McDonald Ranch House, where the plutonium core was
Trinity Site captures a significant moment almost frozen
in time. On the desert floor you can still see the trinitite,
a green, gritty, glassy mineral formed by the fervent heat
of the atomic blast. A small section of rebar from the shot
tower emerges from the ground. The steel vessel called Jumbo
rusts slowly away 800 feet from ground zero. The earthen
huts built for cameras and observers are slowly crumbling
but still recognizable. Two miles away the MacDonald family’s
ranch house, where the plutonium core was assembled, has
been restored to its 1945 state.
Site explosion at
At ground zero you stand next to the monument and listen
to the silence and your own thoughts. You stand under the
bright New Mexico sun and imagine being here yourself in
1945 when the artificial sun lit up 100 feet over your head.
You then imagine the consequences of that morning which
are now our permanent inheritance. You realize that you
are in the presence of something great and awesome, stark
in its beauty, sobering in its implications. The desert
and the Trinity site seem timeless, but what happened here
divides human history into “before Trinity”
and “after Trinity.”
view of the Trinity Site .
51,500-acre area, which is now on the White Sands Missile
Range, was declared a national historic landmark in 1975,
and is open to the public twice a year. Through a special
agreement with the White Sands Missile Range, the site will
be open exclusively for Sigma Pi Sigma Congress participants
who arrive a day early to tour, Thursday, October 14, 2004.
the vist to the Trinity Site and the McDonlad Ranch House,
our group will proceed to the junction of Highway 360 and
Highway One in San Antonio, NM—a corner with a history.
The Owl Bar and Café, famous for
its green chile cheeseburgers, served the men who prepared
the Trinity Site for the first test of the atomic bomb.
Photos and articles decorate the walls.
working on the Manhattan Project frequented the Owl
Bar & Cafe in San Antonio, NM.
says these are the best hamburgers in New Mexico, and knowledgeable
travelers on Interstate 25 adjust their schedules in order
to reach San Antonio and the restaurant at lunch time. Since
our group is quite large, will will arrive at the Owl Café
in two shifts.
UPDATES (pdf version)
of the large number of registrants, meeting schedule constraints
and policy changes at the White Sands Missile Range, there
are several items we need to bring to your attention.
participants have been assigned to a color-coded bus:
Red, Yellow, Green or Blue. Buses begin boarding at
the Hilton Albuquerque at 6:30am and will leave the hotel
PROMPTLY at 7:00am. Lunch will be in two shifts,
one at 12:30 and one at 1:45.
MUST present a photo ID to board the bus and to enter
the White Sands Missile Range.
Because lunch is rather late, we encourage you to arrive
already having eaten breakfast, and to bring water &
snacks, as we will be in the desert with few facilities
Due to a policy change at White Sands Missile Range, lunch
is no longer served at the McDonald Ranch House. We have
found a wonderful alternative, however. We have arranged
to eat at the well-known Owl Bar & Café in San
Antonio, NM. The Owl, famous for its green chile` cheeseburgers,
served the men who prepared the Trinity Site for the first
test of the atomic bomb.
consists of a cheeseburger with green chile` on the side,
french fries or onion rings, and a drink. Vegetarian options
include green salads, vegetarian pinto beans, and grilled
cheese sandwiches. If you would like a vegetarian meal
and did not indicate so on your registration form, please
email the national office at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Monday, October 11th.
Since our group has become so large, we will be eating lunch
in two shifts (two busloads at a time). The first two buses
(RED and YELLOW) will depart the McDonald Ranch Site at
approximately 11:45am and eat at 12:30pm; the final two
buses (GREEN and BLUE) will depart the McDonald Ranch site
at approximately 12:00pm, and will stop over at the nearby
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. At 1:30pm the
GREEN & BLUE buses will depart the Wildlife Refuge for
the Owl Café, eating at approximately 1:45pm. For
information on the wildlife refuge visit: http://southwest.fws.gov/refuges/newmex/bosque.
We will begin boarding the buses for the Trinity
Site Visit at 6:30am. The buses will depart from
the Hilton Albuquerque promptly at 7:00am (the Fairfield
Inn Albuquerque is right next to the Hilton). Everyone MUST
present a valid photo ID (drivers license, passport, or
state ID). Arrive already having eaten breakfast; bring
water and snacks as lunch for some will not be served until
approximately 1:45pm for some (see item #2 above).
are a good choice of clothing. It will likely be chilly
in the morning, so you may want to wear a jacket. Sunscreen
is advisable. It is usually sunny and warm in the afternoon.
We are not able to accommodate on-site registration or refunds
for the Trinity Site Visit. Due to the tight schedule and
large response, latecomers cannot be accommodated.
will view the movie “The Day After Trinity”
enroute. Staff members from the White Sands Missile Range
will provide an informational brochure to each attendee
and will address the entire group at the Trinity Site. We
also expect to hear from some Sigma Pi Sigma members who
have first-hand experience with the Manhattan Project, including
Dr. Worth Seagondollar, who witnessed the Trinity test.
you are interested in contributing digital images from the
Trinity Site Visit for a video presentation during dinner,
please coordinate with Tracy Schwab from the national office
is limited for the Trinity Site visit; registration is
must be registered for the Sigma Pi Sigma Congress or
the APS Four-Corners Meeting to participate in the Trinity
is no on-site registration and there are no refunds for
the Trinity Site Visit.
to the tight schedule and large response, latecomers
cannot be accommodated.
Pi Sigma member, non-student: $30.00
Sigma Pi Sigma member, non-student: $40.00
is usually open to the public just twice a year. This is
a private, exclusive opportunity available only to Congress
the trip to Trinity, attendees will view The
Day After Trinity, “featuring archival
footage and commentary from scientists and soldiers directly
involved with the Manhattan Project, this gripping film
is a fascinating look at the scope and power of the Nuclear
Age” (Editorial Review, Amazon.com).
learn more about the Trinity Site, the Manhattan Project,
or White Sands Missile Range, visit the following websites:
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