Man had let loose hell on earth

Colby Bicentennial Seal 1864-1913

Summer 1955

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The author of this “guest” editorial is Carleton D. Brown, ’33, president of the Kennebec Broadcasting Company and a Colby trustee. Mr. Brown was one of two media representatives from the State of Maine who witnessed the explosion of an atomic bomb at the proving grounds of the Atomic Energy Commission, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 5, 1955.
Nuclear Bomb
During a few fleeting seconds, I saw light far brighter than the sun-created by a temperature 300,000 centigrade (500 times greater than that of the sun at its surface). At this instant, force was released equal to twice that which destroyed Hiroshima, where, in that horrible moment, 60,000 people died, 30,000 were seriously injured, and 90,000 homes were flattened to the earth. Such power, equivalent to the explosion of 40,000 tons of TNT, cannot be comprehended unless you have felt it. At eight miles distance, had I been standing, I would have been knocked flat.
The earth quaked, and the heavens were filled with darkness, and all at once it seemed that man had let loose hell itself on earth-frightening, awe-inspiring, indescribable. And then we left, lest there should fall upon us radioactive particles, which, for hours, could have dealt to all life on the spot where we had stood, a lethal energy which can kill and destroy.
This was an atomic explosion. I pray that never will come a day when hydrogen explosion shall be detonated on this continent. For, if such a day should come, man can release energy millions of times more powerful.
With the positive knowledge that Russia can build A-bombs and H-bombs, and scientific advance now so rapid that some of our fastest aircraft are obsolete; with the guided missile capable of zooming through the stratosphere and across oceans; we no longer can pattern our thinking as Colby people did when they were graduated, even as short a time back as 1952. A new concept of man’s responsibility to society and of his inter-relation to men everywhere must be re-evaluated.
-The Colby Alumnus