I graduated from Columbia High School in Richland, Washington, in June of 1953. At that time housing was very scarce, because of the thousands of workers employed at Hanford Atomic Energy facility, and my family was living in a trailer home at lat/lon 46.3507, -119.2762. It was directly across an open field from the Hanford facility where the government was creating plutonium for atomic bombs.

Hanford reactor, Richland, WA

I lived across the street from Hanford in the lot beside the STOP sign.

We had just moved there from Moses Lake, where I had attended high school part of the previous year. The strange coincidences of these two events is that I was in Moses Lake when the very first B-52 bomber flew in from Seattle, where it was made, to the local airport for testing and further work. These bombers are still in use as delivery systems for the bombs built at Hanford. Only six years later I myself was an Air Force pilot, about to be given responsibility for these same bombs. I never planned any of those three strange and independent events; they just came along. And to add bizarreness to these events, I met Eleanor Roosevelt, whose husband authorized the Atomic Bomb project, and also I spent a half hour talking to J. Robert Oppenheimer at his home in Princeton. He was the administrator of the whole thing, the Manhattan Project. Why me? I could list several more of these strange coincidences with the bomb, but it gets too weird.

Just reported today was the discovery of one of the most powerful events ever to happen in the Universe. What was observed was a gravity wave from the collision of two black holes, over a billion years ago. That wave was discovered at the LIGO facility over at Hanford. The facility is angled to the left of the above picture, nine miles across an empty field, at lat/lon 46.4551, -119.4076. The LIGO was recently upgraded, and will soon have an additional upgrade, so they will probably be reporting more of these events. It appears to have been the swirling collision of two black holes, each of which was about thirty times more massive than our Sun. In less than a second it yielded energy equal to three solar masses. That’s a big event, but it was very far away in space and time.

I live a surprisingly tranquil life.