OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

OAH Distinguished Lectureship program 40 years 1981-2021

Janet Farrell Brodie

Portrait of Janet Farrell Brodie

Janet Farrell Brodie is a history professor emerita at Claremont Graduate University. She is completing a book about the process by which the Trinity Site in New Mexico, the site of the first atomic bomb detonation, became a national historical landmark. She is also working on a book examining institutional and individual engagements with the radiation from atomic weapons in the first decade after World War II when civilians in wide-ranging fields and institutions across America grappled with the mysteries of nuclear radiation and with the new imperatives of national security secrecy surrounding anything to do with nuclear energy.

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

Atomic tourism has become an international phenomenon. Tourists flock to sites of nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima, or to birthplaces and production sites of nuclear weapons such as, in the U.S., Oak Ridge, Hanford, Rocky Flats, Los Alamos. The site of the first atomic bomb—the Trinity National Historic Landmark in New Mexico has become one of these popular tourist destinations even though it is open to the public only twice a year. My lecture examines the rise and implications of nuclear tourism with a focus on the Trinity atomic bomb site.
This lecture examines the military and civilian groups and institutions in the U.S. researching the effects of atomic radiation in the first decade after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In a dense web of institutions, many newly funded, men and women in diverse fields of expertise sought knowledge about the effects of exposure to radiation in years before "fallout" became widely known and understood.