NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center




Trinity Site expert to discuss atomic blast, aftermath at NMSU

A Trinity Site expert will visit New Mexico State University Wednesday, Nov. 6, to give a lecture about the detonation of the world’s first atomic bomb in southern New Mexico in 1945 and its aftermath. The lecture is free and open to students, faculty, staff and the public.


Headshot of a man.
Joseph Shonka, a health physicist, nuclear engineer and Trinity Site expert, will visit New Mexico State University Nov. 6 to give a lecture on the 1945 atomic bomb test in southern New Mexico and its aftermath. (Courtesy Joseph Shonka)

Joseph Shonka, a health physicist and nuclear engineer, will deliver his lecture, “First Dirty Bomb – Trinity,” from 3 to 5:30 p.m. in Hardman and Jacobs Undergraduate Learning Center, Room 210.

Shonka has worked in nuclear engineering and health physics for more than 40 years, and he helped co-author the Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment Study, a 10-year project conducted on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It has been more than 70 years, and we continue to learn how the 1945 test impacted the region yesterday, today and tomorrow,” said Cindy Kratzke, an associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences. “NMSU’s College of Health and Social Services is excited to sponsor this important guest speaker for the campus and our communities. We encourage you to attend and learn more how the Trinity test touches our lives and environment.”

In addition to addressing details about the Trinity test and the radioactive fallout, Shonka also will explain the environmental impacts after the blast.

“Although there were evacuation plans, radio communication was lost as survey teams traveled out to follow the overhead plume,” Shonka wrote in the lecture’s abstract. “The command center was unsure of whether the criteria had been met and failed to order the evacuation.”

For more information, contact Kratzke at ckratzke@nmsu.edu or 575-646-4516.