The Radiation Detectives project identifies local sites in New York City that were involved in the project that developed the atomic bomb why the development of the top-secret atom bomb was called The Manhattan Project.

There are probably few New Yorkers who understand the history of the Manhattan Project so well as to point out the buildings and institutions that birthed the bomb. But NYC high school students could swell those ranks and use their knowledge to question the continued nuclear arms race, as it jumps from Soviet and US Cold War stability to North Korean despots and non-state actors.

Riverside Drive alone boasts the childhood home of J Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the Atomic Bomb, and the somber but proud statue of Shinran Shonin (donated to NYC by the city of Hiroshima), a ‘survivor’ of Hiroshima.  There was also the a-bomb research conducted at Columbia University.  And secret uranium warehoused in Manhattan and on Staten Island. New York City hosted many important sites that illuminate the early history of the nuclear age.

Radiation Detectives will be able to find them!

Youth of NYC can identify a Manhattan Project location on the subway map, to see which MTA stations are closest.  And for the more adventurous, students can travel to any of the destinations identified and take a poll of passersby.  Here are a few discussion starters:

  • Do you know the use of this building during World War II?
  • What do you know about the Manhattan Project?
  • Do you know where this statute is from?
  • What was stored in these buildings during the Second World War?

Hibakusha Stories is developing the Radiation Detectives curriculum to better prepare young people for the dangers that adults today bequeath to them.  Such interactive disarmament education, will, we hope, help guide the world away from nuclear weapons.