LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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William Penney (1909-91). Photograph of British physicist William Penney (far left) at Los Alamos in 1943-45. Penney was a member of the British Mission of scientists to the Los Alamos laboratory in New Mexico, USA, where the first atomic bombs were designed and built in the last 3 years of World War 2. His main work there was to calculate the effects of a nuclear explosion on a target, in particular relating to the height at which the bomb should be detonated. He witnessed the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. After the war, he led the effort to design, build and test Britain's own atomic weapons.
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