The Black Hole of Los Alamos

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The Black Hole of Los Alamos

Wednesday April 19, 2017 Written by Chris

Nuclear waste is something most people go out of their way to avoid, but for 40 years a military surplus store in New Mexico couldn’t get enough of it. It was the brainchild of Ed Grothus, a former machinist for the Los Alamos National Laboratory where scientists worked on the Manhattan Project. It used to house scientific relics from the Atomic Age, and was nicknamed The Black Hole (everything went in and nothing came out).

Ed spent 20 years at the Laboratory working to build “a better bomb” before a change of heart during the Vietnam War led him to start a new life as an anti-nuclear protestor. For the next four decades Ed dedicated his time to snatching up outdated scientific equipment being offloaded by his old employer, from cryogenic tanks to boring old office supplies. After Ed died in 2009, The Black Hole was closed and its collection – all 450 tonnes of it – sold off to the community. Seems Ed wasn’t alone in trying to kill off the nuclear age while keeping its memory alive.

We wrote about one of the items salvaged from Ed's collection – a Rolodex full of Atmoic-era business cards – in Smith Journal volume 22. Grab a copysubscribe or find your local stockist.