Atomic Sci Fi


Mark Kaletka, Cockcroft-Walton generator, Atomic Energy Commssion

Gizmodo has an amazing set of photographs released by the US Atomic Energy Commission showing various science fictional machines use to create atomic power. The images date back several decades and evoke sci fi movies from the 1950s.

The structure above is called a Cockcroft—Walton generator, and it’s a circuit that was used to generate the high voltages needed for particle accelerators. Photographer Mark Kaletka has a good description of what’s happening here. “The legs are resistors (blue cylinders), capacitors (silver doughnuts) and diodes…The silver domes at the top get charged to 750,000 volts, which accelerates ionized hydrogen into the accelerator complex.”

To see the complete set of AEC photos, which include research into both military and peacetime applications of atomic energy, go to the AEC flickr page.

Believe it or not, it has 666 photos – yes 666! Didn’t anyone tell them?


An employee inspects grasshoppers with a magnifying glass in 1958 — although      for what purpose is lost.



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