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Blog

2053 Suns

By Michael Banks

In 2003 the photographer Michael White compiled a book, 100 Suns, containing photographs of nuclear explosions drawn from the archives of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and the US National Archives in Maryland.

The 100 images were taken in an era of “visible” nuclear testing before such tests went underground in the 1960s.

The images are fascinating, sometimes beautiful, but a chilling reminder of the power of such weapons. Indeed, today marks 65 years since around 100,000 people were killed by the nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima by a US B-2 bomber in 1945.

This morning I came across a video made by the Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto plotting nuclear weapons tests on a map of the world. As the years tick by from 1965 to 1998 a flash of light shows when a test occurred, where and by who.

The video by Hashimoto covers 2053 nuclear explosions that happened in the time period from the detonations at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 to the tests by India and Pakistan in 1998 – the period around the Cold War is a particularly active one.

2053 bombs over a 53-year period give an average nuclear detonation once every 9.5 days – a harrowing statistic indeed.

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