Monday, November 30, 2009

National Nuclear Science Week

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is excited to be the founding organization for a new event called National Nuclear Science Week. This week-long celebration will take place January 25-29, 2010.

National Nuclear Science Week will focus local, regional and national interest on all aspects of nuclear science. Each day will provide for learning about the contributions, innovations and opportunities that can be found by exploring nuclear science. Activities for the week will include focus areas in education, nuclear medicine and radiology, energy generation, safety, and careers.

Tools and ideas to encourage activities will be provided online as well as other materials for distribution, education and celebration. Check out the new website at

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kids Salute to Military Heroes

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History will celebrate Veteran’s Day on Sunday, November 15, 2009, with stories of service and multiple family activities.

The Museum will host the day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The focus of the day is to encourage citizens to recognize the many contributions of military members with an effort called “Kids Salute to Military Heroes.” Whether a service member served on a flight deck in the 1960s or just returned from Afghanistan, the Museum will honor the service made by this important community. An additional highlight of the day will be a car show featuring classic cars and military vehicles.

“Our veterans and service personnel have given of themselves many times over,” said Jim Walther, Director of the Museum. “Our day will give the community an opportunity to commemorate that inspirational service as well as give young people a chance to learn about the military from someone who has served. And everyone can enjoy some great vehicles from by-gone eras.”

“Kids Salute to Military Heroes” is an effort to encourage young people to write stories about veterans and members of the military. Those profiles will then be shared with visitors at the Museum throughout the day and their young authors will be recognized in an afternoon ceremony. Youngsters who wish to participate should download, print, and complete the Veteran Profile form and bring it to the Museum on November 15, where they will receive free admission for their effort. To download the form visit this link on our website: and look under "Kids Salute to Military Heroes." Veterans and active military personnel will all receive free admission to the Museum that day upon showing their veteran or military identification or documentation of service.

The Veteran’s History Project, a Library of Congress project, will also be represented at the Museum. The mission of the project is to “collect, preserve, and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.”

The day will also prove of interest to car buffs. Classic cars (those before 1973; many models from the 1930s and 1940s) and distinctive military vehicles will be on display on the 12-acre site.

The Museum has received support from Kaufman’s West Army and Navy Goods for the Kids Salute to Military Heroes; they will be donating uniforms from several branches of the military so that kids can try on a uniform.

While the activities of the day are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Meet the Authors

Author Event: The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and Its Proliferation

October 18, 2009

Authors Thomas C. Reed and Danny B. Stillman will speak about the proliferation of nuclear weapon technology over the last seventy years: where the technology came from, how it spread, who is likely to seek such weapons next and why. They will also offer an insight into the successes that have precluded the “dozens of nuclear weapon states” feared by John Kennedy when he first came to power a half century ago.

Reed is a former Secretary of the Air Force and nuclear weapon designer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Stillman worked at Los Alamos as a physicist; for fourteen years he served as chief of the Technical Intelligence Division.

Richard Rhodes found Nuclear Express to be “loaded with new information and insights; a fascinating read.”

The Reed & Stillman talk will be followed by a reception and book signing at 601 Eubank Blvd SE. Admission is $10 for Museum members, $15 for nonmembers.

Monday, September 28, 2009

40th Anniversary "SNAP"shot

This article is a continuation of "40th Anniversary 'SNAP'shot" from the Museum's Fall Newsletter and gives a look at the interesting device called a SNAP (Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power).

By Sarah Fair, curator

On January 16, 1959, a device that turned heat created from radioactivity into electricity was demonstrated for the first time on President Eisenhower’s desk. It was the size of a grapefruit, weighed 4 pounds and was capable of delivering 11,600 watt-hours for approximately 280 days. This device was called the SNAP-3. Two SNAP models will be on display in the Museum’s 40th Anniversary Exhibit. These models are an important part of the Museum’s collection and show how the Museum broadened its nuclear history and science horizons beyond weapons and into other nuclear technology uses.

The United States Atomic Energy Commission began developing a series of compact devices to supply power for space and terrestrial uses. These devices fell under the general title of Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power (SNAP). There were two different SNAP systems developed; both convert heat to electricity. In even-numbered SNAPs, heat is obtained from a small nuclear reactor. SNAP-10A, the first SNAP reactor power plant launched into space in 1965, is an example of that system. In odd-numbered SNAPs, the heat is obtained from the decay of certain radioisotopes such as Plutonium-238 (in the SNAP-27) and Polonium-210 (in the SNAP-29).

The early efforts on the SNAP began in 1956 with the objective of powering instruments in space satellites. By 1963, two satellites powered by SNAPs were already in orbit.

The SNAP-1 was a small turboelectric generator with high-speed rotating components to convert heat into electricity. It was abandoned for thermoelectric devices, which had no moving parts and a longer lifespan than SNAP-1, with its two-month life expectancy. Work began to develop a new and more efficient thermoelectric and thermionic conversion units for use with a radioisotope heat source.

The SNAP-3 generator was assembled and tested in January 1959. It was a success because it generated 2.5 watts of electricity with a half charge of Polonium-210 fuel. This radioisotope system was selected for several reasons. It provided a concentrated heat source, was readily available, and was safe to handle. Because of the SNAP-3’s success, work began on generators to power satellites, moon probes, automatic weather stations, and navigational aids.

Satellites need dependable, long-lived electrical supply. They also need to be lightweight because pounds are precious in payloads rocketing into space. They must withstand the rigors of a ride on a rocket. The generator must also be safe, that in the event of an accident there will be no serious consequences from radioactive contamination. The SNAP-3A was used in 1961 in the U.S. space program for the orbiting of a Department of Defense satellite. It used a radioisotope generator with a supplementary electricity source for its radio transmitters and was the first use of atomic power in space

The SNAP-27 was developed for use by NASA in lunar landing missions and was designed to power the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package (ALSEP). Five SNAP-27 units provided electric power to ALSEP and were left on the moon by Apollo 12, 14,15, 16, and 17. The SNAP-27 from Apollo 13 is 20,000 feet under water in the Pacific Ocean. The systems transmitted information about moonquakes and meteor impacts, lunar magnetic and gravitational fields, the moon’s internal temperature, and the moon’s atmosphere for several years after the missions. Even after 10 years a SNAP-27 still produces more than 90% of its 70-watt output.

Visit the Museum on October 17, 2009 to see models of the SNAP-27 and SNAP-29 on display in the Museum’s new 40th Anniversary Exhibit. Check out the Museum’s website,, for more info about the new exhibit.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Congrats to Our Ad Agency!

The science and art of branding a museum takes real expertise. The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is pleased and proud to have found imminent assistance in this through our New Mexico agency, 3 Advertising.

Our congratulations go to the gang at 3 for their award-winning work -- they are now the proud owners of several ADDY awards:

With over 60,000 entries annually, the ADDY Awards are the world's largest and arguably toughest advertising competition. The Albuquerque ad agency won one gold and two silver awards.

The Museum's brand is more than a stunning logo and catching creative -- it's what we do day in and day out to reinforce our role in the community. As the only nuclear museum chartered by the US Congress, and as a Smithsonian affiliate, we have big shoes to fill. And we appreciate the aid our partners contribute.

Jeanette Miller, Director of Marketing and PR, holds the ADDYs won by the Museum's advertising agency. Congratulations to 3 Advertising!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Review of "Terrestrial Energy" by William Tucker

Mr. Harmon is a friend of the museum and offered to read and review "Terrestrial Energy," by William Tucker, for us. Hope you enjoy!

“Terrestrial Energy” by William Tucker:

After years of research and failed attempts to get his book published, William Tucker has finally provided the general public with an easily understood overview of the entire energy picture including the familiar sources of energy from fossil and nuclear, as well as the more innovative alternative sources of energy including renewable and solar. He presents two basic premises: 1) As long as we continue burning fossil fuels, there is the possibility we may be modifying the earth’s climate that could bring wrenching and irreversible changes; and 2) the only way we are going to supply ourselves with enough energy while reducing our carbon emissions is through a revival of nuclear power. These premises are seldom, if ever, presented in a common text; however, the small but growing number of public figures willing to embrace these two premises include one of the Cofounders and former Director of Greenpeace (Patrick Moore) and a former Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (Christie Whitman). During his presentation at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History Einstein Gala last spring, Patrick Moore presented his reasons for converting from an avid opponent to nuclear power to one who embraces it as an appropriate technology for one our future energy sources.

Mr. Tucker, a veteran journalist who has been writing about energy and the environment for over thirty years, is supportive of nuclear energy, but recognizes that the future requires contributions from all sources of energy and candidly discusses the benefits and limitations of them all in his most recent publication. One of these limitations, common to most renewable sources of energy, is the vast amount of land mass required for their support and the fact that most of these sources are only available when they are exposed to the wind or sun. As Patrick Moore expressed during his presentation last spring, irrespective of the amount of energy produced by alternative energies, reliability of their energy supply requires that an alternative source of equal size must be available to replace that energy when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow.

Mr. Tucker’s text clearly demonstrates that solar and renewable energy sources are limited to potentially satisfying our peak power demands in circumstances where that demand is concurrent with availability of the energy source. Efficient use of these intermittently available energy sources requires significant energy storage capabilities that are not yet available and will require a large life-cycle carbon footprint associated with their development, manufacturing, and maintenance processes. These intermittent energy sources will not be capable of contributing to the base power load of this country in the foreseeable future. That role is essentially limited to the large power generating stations that use a combination of fossil and nuclear energy sources to generate the thermal energy necessary to provide large quantities of steam to their turbine generating systems. While a proponent of nuclear energy, he also recognizes that it is not the only answer. Rather, it is a necessary component of the mixture of energy sources available for this country’s journey into the future.

“Terrestrial Energy” discusses each energy source’s benefits and limitations in an organized manner starting with the fossil fuels including coal, oil, and natural gas and then discussing solar and renewable energy sources including hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, waves, biofuels, and hydrogen. His final section is reserved for a thorough discussion of nuclear energy including a reasonable overview of the accidents at both Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the current renaissance including the public’s resistance to nuclear, and the eventual necessity of closing the fuel cycle with some form of reprocessing rather than indefinite retrievable storage in some repository whether is it is located at Yucca Mountain or another acceptable location. This comprehensive presentation of our current and future energy situation a good companion text to “A Brighter Tomorrow: Fulfilling the Promise of Nuclear Energy” written by our former Senator Pete Domenici and published in early 2007. Terrestrial Energy is a must read for anyone interested in what direction our nation is heading in its search for a sound and comprehensive energy policy.

Charles D. Harmon
Immediate Past Chair
American Nuclear Society Trinity Section

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

two months and standing tall

We've made it through opening. We've survived our first 60 days. Now we are into our first week of Science is Everywhere Summer Camp in the new building. With three brand new classrooms to fill and tons of opportunity, we have drastically expanded the camp offerings for this summer. (NOTE: WE STILL HAVE SOME OPEN SPACES!)

Aside from the education staff, those of us with offices that share walls with the beautiful new restrooms seem to notice the increase in kids the most. Just moments ago a gaggle of joyous kids in the Robotics class took a restroom break. I know because I heard them happily bouncing through the restroom, then holler their way back to their classroom to continue working on today's robotic challenge. It's hard to be annoyed at these little disturbances when you know how much fun they are having.

Through the summer, we are also planning our first rotating exhibit for our new temporary exhibit hall. We have something up our sleeves that we are really looking forward to. Check back for hints and details!

We are finally jumping feet first into each section of the internet piece by piece. The Museum can now be found on TWITTER! You are invited to follow us and see what the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History has to "tweet" about!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Open for Business

The weekend's festivities were wildly successful. In four days of events (from Thursday through Sunday) the Museum saw nearly 2,000 visitors, and generated an amazing amount of revenue through store sales, admissions, and memberships. We had nearly 150 new members join over the weekend, and had 140 of our existing members show up for their special sneak preview Friday afternoon.

A breakdown of the fun and excitement from each day will come soon (with pictures!), but for now we thought we'd share some nostalgia to remind us where we came from and how far we've come:

Huge thanks to visitor Dan Bialek for coming to the old space, making this video, posting and sharing it with the world.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

almost there

We are less than 24 hours away from our first event in the new museum - and tickets are still available!

The staff is exhausted, to say the least, but cannot express our excitement over sharing this triumph to the world. We can't wait to open the doors, and welcome guests from all over the world to learn about the science, physics, history, politics, origins, and future of the nuclear world. Our World.

We can't wait to share our new treasures, like the 1942 Packard Clipper - "Oppie's Ride":

inside front

She came home yesterday
, much to our delight. She is beautiful and ready for her debut.

If you are able to make it out to any of our opening events this weekend, please take a moment to smile and thank any staff member or volunteer that you recognize. We are blessed to have a generous & dedicated group of people involved in this project from the early beginnings to the very end, and those people have given more to this museum than anyone could quantify. But know that the best way to thank us is not only to visit us, but to visit often! And bring friends!

Monday, March 30, 2009

sophistication, class, and style

Just three of the many wonderful words that have been used to describe the new and re-vamped exhibits at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. Curious? Well, we've uploaded many pictures of the progress over the past few days to our photo site. We can't wait for you to see them in person. GRAND OPENING this Saturday April 4th at 9am. BUT, if you'd like a sneak peek - you are welcome to buy a ticket to our celebratory cocktail reception this Thursday April 2nd, 2009. For more information please call (505) 245-2137 x. 114.

Energy Encounters


entrance to Uranium Cycle

The Entrance to URANIUM CYCLE

Friday, March 27, 2009

Almost forgot....REDSTONE IS HOME!

Full KRQE news story.

They loaded him up, drove him up the I-40, with news helicopters following the whole way. It's not everyday that a rocket takes a ride on the freeway - even in Albuquerque.

A Class Unto Itself

It is official. We are now live, online, and into the new millennium. With the help of our friends at 3 Advertising, the new website for the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is up. It is still a little rough and needs more content, but that is coming and being updated everyday - so check back often!

With this new site moving forward, we have lost our online sales availability temporarily. SO, if you are interested in buying tickets for the Black Tie Opening Reception next Thursday April 2, at 6pm - please feel free to call (505) 245-2137 x. 114 and leave a message. Messages are checked and returned daily.

The move and installation is going faster than even we can believe. The exhibits built, designed, and being installed by Display Dynamics are AMAZING, and we can't wait to share them with you.

We have items from our Old Town location that we are getting rid of. That's right folks - it's an ATOMIC MUSEUM FIRE SALE! Check out what we have for sale on our flickr, and make us an offer on anything you think you can't live without!

We are a week away from this momentous occasion, and hope to see you there. More updates will occur on this blog as often as possible, in addition to updates of photos and videos to the flickr site.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Settling In

Today was another big day for the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History.

Today Fat Man & Little Boy were moved from their former location at the Old Town Albuquerque location, to their new home in the new museum. The process was captured in both photos AND VIDEO! The full set is accessible on our online photo site HERE.

It is quite moving to see Fat Man roll along on his way to his new home, and we are excited to share it with you:

Things change every day at the museum, with all of the staff, volunteers, board members, and friends working together to get it ready to open in TWO WEEKS. It's hard to believe we've made it this far, and can't wait to open to the public and show the world what this museum has become.

If you haven't already done so, go to our website and buy tickets to our Opening Reception on April 2, 2009 - 6pm. Tickets are only $50, and this will be a GREAT party and an excellent chance to experience this amazing new museum.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

moving pains, down the home stretch

The long road to home is finally upon us. Since closing our Old Town location to the public on February 7th, the entire Museum staff and countless volunteers have been working nonstop to get everything packed and moved to the new building. During this, hundreds of volunteer hours were donated to get the new exhibit walls built and installed, more outdoor artifacts and exhibits were moved and set up by WWAR, phone lines put in, security systems installed, fire roads and inspections and residency.....and on and on.

As of this week, the staff formerly referred to as NAM staff is being moved to our new offices. As an aside, we will forever be nostalgic about the days when we had an easy to pronounce 3 letter acronym for our beloved organization. We are truly no longer the National Atomic Museum. The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is finally here, but NMNSH is not as smooth of an acronym to pronounce. Symbolic in many ways, we are well aware of the fact that we are part of something far larger than ourselves. The future of this organization is boundless. With rocky roads and trials behind us, we look forward to simple problems such as answering phones with a much longer welcome.

"National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, how can we help you?"

This week, staff and volunteers are working late into the evening to prime and paint our new exhibit walls in the new building. If you have any extra time and are interested in helping - please feel free to give us a call at 505-245-2137 x.114.

Starting Monday March 16th all of the staff will be reporting full time to our new home at 601 Eubank SE. After being between the two spaces over the past 5 weeks, this is a great relief. There are still some things to be moved and installed after that. Our beloved Redstone will move either next week or the week of the 23rd. That same week our beautiful new professionally designed interior exhibits will show up, and the exhibit fabrication company will install them in their new home.

So - when do we open??

Black Tie (optional) Cocktail Reception
a special preview for anyone which includes heavy hors'dvors, cocktails, music, and more
Tickets $50
available to purchase online at
for more info contact Special Event Coordinator Marina Colon at 505-245-2137 x. 114 or

Member Preview
a special preview for all those foundation members and donors that have helped the museum along the way
for more info or to rsvp contact Membership Specialist Nadine Scala at 505-245-2137 x. 113 or

SATURDAY & SUNDAY APRIL 4th & 5th, 2009
$8 adults
$7 senior
$7 youth
$6 active military
children under 5 - FREE!

This weekend will open this exciting new museum to the public for the first time and feature activities for all ages. See new exhibits, including Trinity and its Legacy, Energy Encounters, Little Albert's Lab. Dress to compete in the "Albert Einstein Look-Alike Contest," try some hands-on science, see our B29 and B52 airplanes, and so much more.

For more information check our website often AND, sometime in the next few weeks this will change too! We're looking forward to the launch of our new website!

There's so much going on that it's hard for us to keep up, and we're doing it all! More to come!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Come Fly With Us

The National Atomic Museum Foundation’s annual Einstein Society Gala invites New Mexicans to “Come Fly with Me” on March 7, 2009. The annual event will honor and celebrate the wide scope of achievement and commitment to furthering scientific endeavor made by individuals in areas of military leadership, medical technology, public policy and government, energy sciences, education and space exploration.

The Gala will be held at 6 p.m. at the Albuquerque Sheraton Uptown; individual tickets are $100 for cocktails, dinner, and dancing. The Gala and its accompanying silent auction is the Museum’s annual fundraising effort; proceeds will benefit the educational and historic programs of the Museum. Tickets can be purchased online at For more information please call (505) 245-2137 x. 110

Environmentalist Patrick Moore, Ph.D., has been named the recipient of the 2009 National Award of Nuclear Science, presented annually by the NAM Foundation to a prominent person that has had an impact on nuclear issues. Dr. Moore will receive the award at the Einstein Society Gala. Past recipients include esteemed author Richard Rhodes, and beloved New Mexican Sentor Pete Domenici.

Dr. Moore currently serves as Chair and Chief Scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd., a consultancy focusing on environmental policy and communications in forestry, agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, mining, biodiversity, chemicals, energy and climate change. Moore served for nine years as President of Greenpeace Canada and seven years as a Director of Greenpeace International. As the leader of many campaigns, he was a driving force shaping policy and direction while Greenpeace became the world's largest environmental activist organization.

In recent years, Dr. Moore has been focused on the promotion of sustainability and consensus building among competing concerns. He was a member of British Columbia government-appointed Round Table on the Environment and Economy from 1990 - 1994. In 1990, Dr. Moore founded and chaired the BC Carbon Project, a group that worked to develop a common understanding of climate change.

Monday, January 12, 2009

a newsworthy event

Great coverage - with video!

Koat - channel 7

pictures of this exciting event will be posted by the end of the day. Check our photo site by clicking on the photos to the left.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

it's PLANE to see...this will be an exciting weekend!


The National Atomic Museum will move its largest artifact, a B-52B bomber, to its new location in southeast Albuquerque on January 10 and 11, 2009. The historic plane has been stored at the Museum’s previous location on Kirtland Air Force Base.

The plane wings will be hauled in pieces by tractor-trailer two miles to the new Museum location at Eubank and Southern Blvds. SE in Albuquerque, adjacent to the Sandia Science and Technology Park and KAFB. The route will take the planes from their current location off of Wyoming Boulevard to the new site, where a new Museum is under construction.

The fuselage will be towed on its own wheelgear by two special tow bars. The plane was delivered to KAFB from the Boeing plant. The plane was always used in the special weapons program, where it was flown to the test site in Nevada; it was not part of the Strategic Air Command, unlike most B52s.

The Boeing Stratofortress B-52 has been the main long-range heavy bomber of the Strategic Air Command. Affectionately known as the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fella), the B-52 first flew on April 15, 1952. Nearly 750 B-52s were built when production ended in October 1963; the Museum’s plane may be one of two B-52B planes still in existence. On January 18, 1957, three B-52Bs completed the world's first non-stop round-the-world flight by jet aircraft, lasting 45 hours, 19 minutes, with only three aerial refuelings en route. A B-52 also made the first known airborne hydrogen bomb drop over Bikini Atoll on May 21, 1956.

“Moving these significant artifacts represents a huge step toward becoming the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History,” said Jim Walther, Director of the Museum. “We know the public will appreciate having these giants available for viewing. We hear repeatedly how eager people are to see these important historical aircraft.”

Worldwide Aircraft Recovery Ltd. has provided assistance in a number of projects, including the entire Strategic Air Command Museum and its B-52, B-36, B-58, and an Atlas missile. They will move eight pieces for the Museum: four aircraft and four missiles. In addition to the B-52, the Bomarc, Mace, Matador, and Snark cruise missiles will be moved; three planes have already moved in October 2008. There are also plans to relocate a MiG-21 from Tucson, Arizona, to the new site.