November 9, 2011

Book about Hanford is subject of lecture

History Professor John Findlay and Associate Professor Bruce Hevly will present a lecture on their book, Atomic Frontier Days: Hanford and the American West, at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, in the Petersen Room of Allen Library.

Hanford nuclear reservation, an industrial site on the banks of the Columbia, River, appears to be at odds with the surrounding vineyards and desert. The 586-square-mile compound is known both for its origins as part of the Manhattan Project and for the monumental effort now under way to clean up 45 years of waste from manufacturing plutonium for nuclear weapons. Hanford routinely makes the news, as scientists, litigants, administrators, and politicians argue over its past and its future.

It is easy to think about Hanford as an expression of federal power, a place apart from humanity and nature, but the two authors believe that view distorts its history. Atomic Frontier Days looks through a wider lens, telling a complex story of production, community building, politics, and environmental sensibilities. The authors attempt to bridge the divisions that accompany Hanford’s headlines and offer perspective on today’s controversies. Hanford and the Tri-Cities, they say, illuminate the history of the modern American West. (See a UW Today story about the book.)

This lecture is the 13th in a series and is sponsored by the Department of History, the University of Washington Libraries and the University of Washington Press with the support of the Emil and Kathleen Sick Endowment Fund. The fund also supported publication of Atomic Frontier Days.

The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.